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By Mel Wacks 

Copyright © 2020 by Mel Wacks 
Printed in the United States of America 
First Printing, 2020 

Library of Congress Control Number: 2020900678 
ISBN 978-1-7923-2948-7 

Book design provided by Lianna Spurrier under sponsorship of Newman Numismatic Portal. 

The text for this book may be found online at: 

This book is dedicated to members of my wonderful family: 

Nathan Wacks z " L , Ben Wacks 2 " 1 , Belle Wacks 2 " 1 , 

Debra Wacks Ph.D., Shari Wacks, 

Bella Wacks Spencer, and Landon Wacks Spencer. 

Designed by Joel Iskowitz 
assisted by Mel Wacks. 

Thanks to these institutional leaders who have been of great help to 
me, and who have championed the Jewish-American Hall of Fame: 

Seymour Fromer, Founding Director of the Judah L. Magnes 
Museum (1962-1998); Michael Feldberg Ph.D., Executive Director 
of the American Jewish Historical Society (1991-2004); Jay Ipson, 
Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Virginia Holocaust 
Museum (1997-2012); and Abby Schwartz, Director of the 
Cincinnati Skirball Museum (2013-). 

Mel Wacks/1 




1969, Judah Magnes (1877-1948), Founder Hebrew University, Medal by Victor Ries .6 

1970, Albert Einstein (1879-1955), Theoretical physicist, Medal by Robert Russin .8 

1971, Louis Brandeis (1856-1941), Supreme Court Justice, Medal byGerta Ries Wiener .10 

1972, George Gershwin (1898-1937), Composer and pianist, Medal by Robert Russin .12 

1973, Haym Salomon (1740-1785), Patriot and businessman, Medal by PaulVincze .14 

1974, Herbert Lehman (1878-1963), Public servant, Medal by Jacques Schnier .16 

1975, Gershom Seixas (1745-1816), Patriotic rabbi, Medal byGerta Ries Wiener .18 

1976, Henrietta Szold (1860-1945), Founder of Hadassah & Hospital, Medal by Gerta Ries Wiener .20 

1977, Touro Synagogue (1763), Oldest extant synagogue, Medal by Victor Ries .22 

1978, Golda Meir (1898-1978), Israel Prime Minister, Medal byGerta Ries Wiener .24 

1979, Levi Strauss (1829-1902), Clothing manufacturer, Medal by Hal Reed .26 

1980, Jonas Salk (1914-1995), Developer of polio vaccine, Medal by Hal Reed .28 

1981, Rebecca Gratz (1781-1869), Educator and philanthropist, Medal byGerta Ries Wiener .30 

1982, Isaac Stern (1920-2001), Violin virtuoso, Medal byGerta Ries Wiener .32 

1983, Emma Lazarus (1849-1887), “Statue of Liberty" poet, Medal by Gerta Ries Wiener .34 

1984, Isaac B. Singer (1904-1991), Nobel laureate Yiddish writer, Medal by Robert Russin .36 

1985, Adolph Ochs (1858-1935), NYTimes publisher, Medal by Gerta Ries Wiener .38 

1986, Abravanel, Zacuto 8< Santangel (i486), Jews who helped Columbus, Medal by Paul Vincze .40 

1987, Benjamin Cardozo (1870-1938), Supreme Court Justice, Medal by Gerta Ries Wiener .42 

1988, Uriah P. Levy (1792-1862), Commodore US Navy, Medal by Hal Reed .44 

1988, Irving Berlin (1888-1989), Songwriter and Broadway composer, Plaque by Marika Somogyi .46 

1989, Benny Goodman (1909-1966), Clarinetist and “King of Swing, "Medal by Marika Somogyi .48 

1990, Dr. Bela Schick (1877-1967), Developed test for diphtheria, Medal byGerta Ries Wiener .50 

1991, Hank Greenberg (1911-1986) Baseball Hall ofFamer, Medal by Hal Reed .52 

1992, Columbus & Torres (1492), Expulsion of Jews, Medal by PaulVincze .54 

1993, Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990), Conductor, composer and teacher, Medal by Marika Somogyi .56 

1994, Ernestine Rose (1810-1892), Advocate for women's rights, Medal by Gerta Ries Wiener .58 

1995, ElieWiesel (1928-2016), Writer, lecturer and humanitarian, Medal by Alex Shagin .60 

1996, Houdini (1874-1926), Magician and escape artist, Medal by Hal Reed .62 

1997, Barbra Streisand (b. 1942), Singer, actress and director, Medal by Alex Shagin .64 

1998, Ida & Isidore Straus and David Sarnoff (1912), Heroes of Titanic tragedy ; Medal by Alex Shagin .66 

1.999, Asser Levy (1654), First Jews in America, Medal by Alex Shagin .68 

2 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

2000, Arthur Miller (1915-2005), Playwright and author, Medal by Marika Somogyi .70 

2001, Bess Myerson (1924-2014), Miss America and public servant, Medal by Alex Shagin .72 

2002, Leopold Karpeles (1838-1909), Medal of Honor recipient, Medal by Alex Shagin .74 

2003-4, Samuel Gompers (1850-1924) & Sidney Hillman (1887-1946) Labor leaders, Medal by Karen Worth .76 

2005, Robert "Rosie" Rosenthal (1917-2007), World War II Flying "Ace," Medal by Jim Licaretz .78 

2006, Moe Berg (1902-1972), Major League catcher and spy, Medal by Eugene Daub .80 

2007, Lillian Wald (1867-1940), FounderVisiting Nurse Service, Medal by Virginia Janssen .82 

2008, Milton Berle (1908-2002), "Mr. Television, "comedian and actor, Medal by Eugene Daub .84 

2009, Mel Wacks (70th Birthday) & JAHF's 40th Anniversary, Medal by Eugene Daub .86 

2010, Barney Ross (1909-1967), Boxing champion and war hero, Medal by Eugene Daub .88 

2011, Gertrude Elion (1918-1999), Nobel Prize in Medicine, Medal by Daniel Altshuler .90 

2012, Mordecai Noah (1785-1851), Writer, diplomat and Zionist, Medal by Eugene Daub .92 

2013, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (b.1933), Supreme Court Justice, Medal by Eugene Daub .94 

2014, Jacob Frankel (1808-1887) & Alexander Goode (1911-1943), Chaplains, Medal by Eugene Daub .96 

2015, Gertrude Berg (1899-1966), Radio & television writer and actor, Medal by Eugene Daub .98 

2016, Judith Resnik (1949-1986) and Jeffrey Hoffman (b.1944), Astronauts, Medal by Eugene Daub .100 

2017, Joseph Pulitzer (1847-1911), Newspaper publisher & founder Pulitzer Prize, Medal by Eugene Daub .102 

2018, Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000), Movie star and inventor, Medal by Eugene Daub .104 

2019, Isaac MayerWise (1819-1900), Leader of Reform Judaism, Medal by Eugene Daub .106 

About the Author, Mel Wacks.108 

About the Medalists.110 

Appendix A: Wooden Shekels Issued by the Magnes Museum and Jewish-American Hall of Fame.115 

Appendix B: Special Commemorative Medals Issued by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame.118 

Appendix C: How Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals are Made.136 

Appendix D: Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medal Boxed Sets.141 

Appendix E: Striking Medals — 50 Years of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame Exhibit.143 

Appendix F: 2020, Dara Torres (b.1967), Medal by Eugene Daub .144 


Picture Credits.148 

Mel Wacks/3 


In 1968, soon after Mel Wacks was appointed 
as Numismatic Consultant to the Judah L. Magnes 
Museum by its Director, Seymour Fromer, the first 
numismatic issue — a modest one — was launched: 
Wooden Shekels (see Appendix A). 

Following the release of the Wooden 
Shekels, the formation of the International Judaic 
Commemorative Society was announced by Wacks. 
But Joseph Milo, Director of the Israel Coins and 
Medals Corporation complained that such a venture 
would compete with their programs. And so, it was 
decided that the Magnes Museum would "issue art 
medals portraying events and personalities in Jewish- 
American history/'Thus, the Jewish-American Hall of 
Fame series of art medals was born. 

The goal was not only to raise funds for the 
Magnes Museum, but to raise awareness in Jews and 
non-Jews alike in the substantial contributions made 
to America — and the world — by American Jews. 
The project was launched with a contribution of $500 
from San Franciscan Julian Levin. 

Mel Wacks, Director of the Jewish-American 
Hall of Fame, chose each year's honoree, after 
consultation with Seymour Fromer and others—until 
2010, when an Advisory Council of Jewish historians 
and organizational leaders was appointed to 
determine future inductees. Members of the Council 
included Diana Cohen Altman, former Director of the 
Klutznick National Jewish Museum; Michael Feldberg 
Ph.D., former Executive Director of the American 
Jewish Historical Society; Gail Twersky Reimer Ph.D., 
Founding Director of the Jewish Women's Archive; 
Daniel Mariaschin, Executive Vice President of B'nai 
B'rith International; Richard Siegel, former Executive 
Director of the Foundation for Jewish Culture; and 
Mel Wacks. Abby Schwartz, Director of the Cincinnati 

4 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Skirball Museum joined the Advisory Council after 
Siegel's untimely death in 2018. 

Since 1969, over 25,000 Jewish-American Hall 
of Fame medals have been issued — finding homes in 
collections, museums, etc. around the world, as far 
away as China — becoming the longest continuing 
series of non-government art medals being issued in 
the United States. 

Dr. Alan Stahl, currently Curator of 
Numismatics at Princeton University, wrote in 
the catalog of the Federation Internationale de la 
Medaille (1990, Helsinki) that the Jewish-American 
Hall of Fame series was "[one of the most] important 
series of medals in recent years." 

Coin World columnist Jeff Starck, wrote in the 
July 30, 2012 issue that "A notable achievement of 
the series of [Jewish-American Hall of Fame] medals 
is the sheer number of respected and famous artists 
who have been commissioned."These have included 
winners of the two most prestigious awards to 
medalists — the American Numismatic Association's 
Numismatic Art Award for Excellence in Medallic 
Sculpture (Eugene Daub, Virginia Janssen, Jim 
Licaretz, Hal Reed, Alex Shagin, Marika Somogyi, 
Paul Vincze, Gerta Ries Wiener and Karen Worth), 
and the American Numismatic Society's J. Sanford 
Saltus Award forOutstanding Achievement in the Art 
of the Medal (Eugene Daub, Alex Shagin and Karen 

The Jewish-American Hall of Fame expanded 
to the Internet in 1997, in a website named The website features a virtual 
tour through 500 years of American Jewish history, 
illustrated by Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals, 
quizzes about all of the honorees, and much more. 
It won the Numismatic Literary Guild's award for 
the Best Non-Commercial Web Site. In 2001, the 
Jewish-American Hall of Fame became a Division of 
the American Jewish Historical Society. Beginning 
in 2010, the Jewish-American Hall of Fame plaques 
went on permanent view at the Virginia Holocaust 
Museum, in Richmond. And in 2019, the Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame Medals Collection of the 
Cincinnati Skirball Museum was established. 


In his discussion of Series of American Medals, 
on the website of Medal Collectors of America, 
Dick Johnson writes: "The first public subscription 
medal series began with the Circle of Friends of 
the Medallion (1909-1915). But the grand dame of 
all American medal series was — and still is —The 
Society of Medalists (129 medals in all, 1930-1995)." 
In this category, Dick also lists the medals issued by 
the Hall of Fame for Great Americans, from 1962 
through 1974, and by the Jewish-American Hall of 
Fame, beginning in 1969. 

Please note that all of these are "Art Medals," 
which generally are larger, have high relief, and have 
antique patinas (finishes) — as opposed to the shiny 
coin-size medals issued by the Franklin Mint and 
their ilk. 

So what is the attraction of collecting a 
series of medals that are issued at the rate of one 
or perhaps a few each year? Perhaps it is similar to 
the appeal of popular characters who appear in an 
author's book about once a year or a popular movie 
theme and its sequels. It is the attraction of a familiar 
theme and style that one 
likes and looks forward to 
seeing the latest version. 

There is also the collecting 
aspect — where collectors 
have the desire to maintain 
a complete set. Whatever 

the reason, the Jewish-American Hall of Fame has 
had the benefit of a loyal cadre of collectors who 
support this project year after year. 

Many of these people originally found out 
about the Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals in 
coin columns in their local newspapers, like the New 
YorkTimes, Philadelphia Enquirer, etc. Unfortunately 
these coin columns in newspapers have all but 
disappeared. However, numismatic publications 
have always supported us, and numerous articles 
have appeared over the years in The Numismatist, 
Coin World (see below) and Numismatic News. 
More recently our medals have received publicity in 
e-publications such as E-Sylum and CoinsWeekly. 

If you didn't have the opportunity of buying 
Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals when they 
were issued, now you can try to acquire examples 
that you like or to assemble a complete collection 
by buying on eBay or from dealers. But it is not easy, 
since mintages are very low — as few as 100 bronze, 
55 pure silver, and a minuscule 8 gold-plated silver. 
Remember, the fun is in the hunt! 


Jewish-American Hall of Fame medal 
honors Hedy Lamarr 

Celebrated actress from Vienna was 
also an inventor during World War II 

b) Chris BulMnc li. 

The Jewish-America 11 Hall 
of Fame has selected Hedy La¬ 
marr to appear on the 49th issue 
of the organization's ongoing 
medal series, according to Mel 
Wacks. one of the organization’s 

The Jewish-American Hall 
of Fame was created in 19W as 
part of the Magncs Museum, a 
museum of Jin 1 'eH by 

Seymour^. * ~ 

Collection of Jewish Art and 
Life at The Bancroft Library af¬ 
ter it was absorbed by the Uni¬ 
versity of California in 2010. 

The Hall of Fame, for its 
part, became a division of the 
American Jew ish Historical So¬ 
ciety in 2001 In 2012. its web¬ 
site was absorbed by the Ameri¬ 
can Numismatic Society 
The JAHF’s n- 
which has be- 
-dal v 

Actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr is depicted on the 49tl» medal in the Jewish 
American HaU of Fame s senes cernmemorating the accompfehments of Jewish 
American men and women in many fields 
laagts cMrtny of Wk Aacncu Hall of f am 

the United States in 1938. She 
starred in many films from the 
file 1930s into the 1950s. 

narr was often de- Hb 
’Vorid’s • 

the 1960s. Those technologies 
bid the foundation for many 
telecommunications products 
■••e use today. 

The JAHF mr» 

Mel Wacks/5 

JAHF1 /1369 


1877 -1948 

Medalist: Victor Ries 

Obverse: Library of Hebrew University and Shrine of the Book; JUDAH L. MAGNES (English and 
Hebrew), VR, 1877-1948. 


Judah Leon Magnes was born in San 
Francisco, and grew up in Oakland, California. He 
later became the first native Californian to receive 
a rabbinical degree from the Hebrew Union College 
in Cincinnati. Magnes went on to serve at Temple 
Israel in Brooklyn (1904) and at Temple Emanu-El 
in New York City (1908), one of the most influential 
positions in American Reform Jewry. A few years 
later, Magnes headed the conservative Congregation 
B'nai Jeshurun. 

In 1909, Magnes founded the Kehillah, a 
union of diverse Jewish communal organizations 
in New York City. He remained its president during 
the entire time of its existence, through 1922, and is 
credited with changing the emphasis from charities 
to social work. With seemingly boundless energy, 
Magnes also helped to found the Yiddish daily "Der 
Tag," the Society for the Advancement of Judaism, 
the American Civil Liberties Union, and the Joint 
Distribution Committee. He was Secretary of the 
Federation of American Zionists and a lifelong friend 

6 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

of Henrietta Szold, with whom he helped turn a small 
women's social group into the world's largest Zionist 
organization — Hadassah. 

ProbablyJudah L. Magnes' greatest work was 
done on behalf of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, 
of which he was a founder and the first president. Dr. 
Magnes is given much of the credit for making the 
University the world-renowned institution that it is 

Magnes was an outspoken leader in the 
campaignforthe establishment of a Jewish homeland. 
His compassion for people — all people — led him to 
appeal for a bi-national state of Jews and Arabs. He 
has been called the "Jewish Gandhi" because of his 
constant work on behalf of both independence and 
harmony in the Holy Land. Just before the United 
Nations made its momentous decision establishing 
the State of Israel, Magnes spoke before the world 
body. Unfortunately, he became ill shortly after, and 
was buried in his beloved Jerusalem. 

46 x45 mm / Medallic Art Company 
585 Bronze / 265 Pure Silver / 8 Gold-Plated Pure Silver 


1 617 



I9i*$ . 

Victor Ries 
a number 
of different 
designs in the 
usual round 

Ries also 
several possible 
obverse designs 
using a rounded 

The final 
designs used 
the rounded 

although it was 
inverted from 
the original 


JAHF2 /1970 


1879 -1955 

Medalist: Robert Russin 
Obverse: Portrait, RUSSIN. 

Reverse: Peace symbol within the umbra of a solar eclipse, THE HIGHEST RELIGION ISTHE 
SERVICE OF HUMANITY, Albert Einstein (signature) 1979-1955. 

Born in the German town of Ulm, Albert 
Einstein spent his early youth in Munich. While 
attending Zurich Polytechnic Institute he became a 
Swiss citizen. After graduating in 1890, he took a post 
at the Swiss Patent Office in Berne and carried out 
experiments on his own time. In 1905, he published 
three scientific papers, including one that would 
make his name a household word — the Special 
History of Relativity. Einstein demonstrated that 
motion is relative and that physical laws must be the 
same for all observers moving relative to each other. 
In addition, his famous equation E=mc 2 showed that 
mass and energy are equivalent. He received the 
Nobel Prize for physics in 1921 for his explanation of 
the photoelectic effect. 

Another paper, published in 1920, predicted 
that large masses would deflect planets or light 
rays from their paths; this was proven correct when 
it was shown that starlight was deflected by the 
gravitational field of the sun during a total eclipse of 
the sun in 1919. 

Einstein's interests were not confined to his 
research alone. His friend and collaborator Dr. Otto 
Nathan writes: "Except for his devotion to science, 

8 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

no cause was more important or closer to his heart 
than the determination that the institution of war be 
forever abolished." 

Einstein advocated a United Europe in 1914, 
and welcomed the establishment of the League 
of Nations in 1919 and the United Nations in 1945. 
He was also deeply concerned with Jewish affairs, 
and devoted his active interest to the creation of 
Brandeis University. Also, Einstein was convinced 
that the cultural survival of the Jews depended on 
the establishment of their own national homeland 
— Israel — with peaceful coexistence between Arabs 
and Jews necessary for success. 

After the death of Chaim Weizmann, when 
Einstein was asked if he would accept the presidency 
of Israel, the 73 year old scientist wrote: "I am deeply 
moved by the offer from our State of Israel, and at 
once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. I 
am the more distressed ... because my relationship to 
the Jewish people has become my strongest human 
bond, ever since I became aware of our precarious 
situation among the nations of the world." 

46 x45 mm / Medallic Art Company 
810 Bronze / 290 Pure Silver / 8 Gold-Plated Pure Silver 
100 nickel-silver medals were embedded in lucite forthe 
Alumni Association of Einstein College. 


Professor Robert Russin working on the clay model of Einstein's portrait, and that 
model in an interim stage. 

Early stage of the reverse. Note that the peace symbol was later reduced in size. At 
Russin's request, Medallic Art Company added the reverse inscription. 


JAHF3 /1371 


1856 -1941 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 

Obverse: Portrait; JUSTICE LOUIS BRANDEIS 1856-1941, Gerta Wiener. 

In 1916, Louis Brandeis' nomination to the 
Supreme Court, by President Woodrow Wilson, 
aroused much consternation in some circles; even 
the staid Wall Street Journal called him a "rabid ... 
super-extreme ... anti-corporation agitator." Anti- 
Semitism also raised its ugly head with the first Jewish 
nominee to the High Court. However, Brandeis had 
the support of the people, as his nickname ("The 
People's Lawyer") revealed, for his crusades on 
behalf of consumer protection and women's rights, 
and against monopolistic practices. 

While Brandeis won fame as a dissenter on 
the bench, he was actually in the majority far more 
often than the minority. His dissenting opinions 
were of quality not quantity. However, these were 
highly significant because, in stating his belief in the 
"living law," in many instances Brandeis stated the 
law as it was yet to be. In a speech made to a Boston 

audience in 1914, Justice Brandeis stated: "America's 
fundamental law seeks to make real the brotherhood 
of man. America's insistent demand in the twentieth 
century is for social justice." 

When World War I broke out, Brandeis agreed 
to serve as Chairman of the Provisional Committee 
for General Zionist Affairs. "My approach to Zion ism," 
he said, "was through Americanism. Gradually it 
became clear to me that to be good Americans we 
must be better Jews, and to be better Jews we must 
become Zionists." 

Brandeis' close relations with President 
Wilson and high administrative officials played an 
important part in securing support for the Balfour 
Declaration, whereby Great Britain "views with 
favour the establishment in Palestine of a national 
home for the Jewish people." 

45 x43 mm / Medallic Art Company 
430 Bronze / 220 Pure Silver / 8 Gold-Plated Pure Silver 
(Mintages have been determined, as accurately as 
possible, from original records.) 

10 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 


Victor Ries was asked to design the medal 
honoring Louis Brandeis, but since he did not sculpt 
portraits, he asked his sister, Gerta Ries Wiener, 
to take over the assignment — in spite of the fact 
that she had never before designed a medal. This 
was serendipity, since Gerta Ries Wiener went on to 
sculptatotal of eleven Jewish-American Hall of Fame 

On April 9, 1971 Gerta Ries Wiener sent Mel 
Wacks the above photos with the note: "This is 
the plasticene version and will be sharpened in the 
plaster of Paris." Later that month, Wiener wrote: 
"It is, of course, always a challenge to have to do a 
good portrait of a person you have never seen and 

1 J'Jjf'C 

A.© ' 1 l? 


will never be able to see — painting or sculpture — as 
a portrait is, or should be much more than a literal 
rendition of features. I had to rely on whatever kind of 
photos of his head I could obtain, and they were none 
too good for my purpose. They showed him either 
too young or too old, and had the lack of character of 
many newspaper portraits of prominent people. But 
having a strong mental image of the man from what 
he had been and said helped me, I hope, to express 
some of his personality through my work." 

Gerta Ries Wiener's letters to Mel Wacks are 
now in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution's 
Archives of American Art. 

/ y\] r „ fit/ 1 
1 'Ut ' 


0 f Mf\/] 

Victor Ries was not happy with his sister's designs; in a letter dated May 24, 1971 from Seymour 
Fromerthat included the above sketch by Fromer, Director of the Judah Magnes Museum, Victor suggested: 
"removing the heavy lines and moving the words THE and OF MAN to the left or off center." Ries also 
suggested "to move the face (of Brandeis) to the right ...As it stands now the middle is not acceptable." Gerta 
Ries Wiener did not make these changes. 

Mel Wacks/11 

JAHF4 /1972 


1898 -1937 

Medalist: Robert Russin 
Obverse: Portrait, RUSSIN. 

Reverse: Gershwin's hands on piano keyboard, JAZZ ISTHE RESULT OF ENERGY STORED IN 
AMERICA, George Gershwin (signature) 1898-1937. 

George Gershwin was a very normal boy — 
he was the undisputed roller skating champion of 
his neighborhood on the Lower East Side of New 
York. He even felt that youngsters who went in for 
music were sissies. But one day a young violinist, 
Max Rosen, played for his fellow classmates at PS 25. 
George had not been interested enough to attend 
the performance, but heard it through the assembly 
hall window. Gershwin later wrote: "It was, to me, a 
flashing revelation of beauty." 

Max opened the world of music to George, 
and George taught Max wrestling. One climactic day, 
his friend told George that he had better give up all 
thoughts of a musical career, saying "You haven't it in 
you; take my word for it." Fortunately for American 
music, George ignored his friend's advice. 

Gershwin wrote his first songs while working 
as a pianist with a music publishing firm; and his first 

revue Half Past Eight opened in 1918. 

George Gershwin tragically did not live to 
be 40, but his music will live forever. He was equally 
at home writing "pop" tunes, such as Swanee, The 
Man I Love, 'S Wonderful, and I Got Rhythm; musical 
comedies like Oh Kay, Girl Crazy, and Of Thee I Sing; 
serious music: Rhapsody in Blue, Concerto in F, and 
An American in Paris; and he even pioneered in 
creating a genuine American folk opera: Porgy and 
Bess. Most of the lyrics for his revues and songs were 
written by his brother Ira (1896-1983). 

Rhapsody in Blue, commissioned by Paul 
Whiteman as a "jazz symphony," made jazz 
respectable for the American concert stage after 
it was performed in New York in 1924 — and it 
made Gershwin famous. In less than two decades 
of productivity, George Gershwin left an indelible 
impression upon his country's culture. 

46 x45 mm / Medallic Art Company 
450 Bronze / 250 Pure Silver / 8 Gold-Plated Pure Silver 

12 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 


Professor Russin near the 
completion of Gershwin's 
portrait in clay. 

Russin making final adjustments 
to reverse plaster. Note that 
lettering has been touched up 
in photo to make inscription 

Mel Wacks /13 

JAHF5 /1373 


1740 -1785 

Medalist: PaulVincze 

SALOMON 1740-1785, P.VINCZE. 

Reverse: Salomon writing, with American cavalry in background, 1776 in exergue, P. VINCZE. 

In the early 1770's, Haym Salomon left his 
family in Poland and arrived in New York on the eve 
of the Revolution. His command of German made 
him welcome to the Hessian forces, which he served 
as a supplier of goods. When the British suspected 
him of spying, Salomon was arrested and confined to 
prison fora time. 

Salomon's command of several languages 
enabled him to serve as a brokertothe French officials 
in Philadelphia. Salomon prospered and was able to 
be financially helpful to a number of public figures, 
such as Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. In 
1782, Madison acknowledged the "kindness of our 
little friend in Front Street, whose assistance will 
preserve me from extremities but I never resort to it 
without great mortification as he obstinately rejects 
all recompense." 

When Haym Salomon died prematurely 
in January 1785, he held $353,000 — largely in 
depreciated certificates of indebtedness and 

continental currency — all virtually worthless. 

The Pennsylvania Packet wrote "He was 
remarkable for his skill and integrity in his profession 
and for his generous and humane deportment." 

Haym Salomon was actively involved in Jewish 
community affairs. He was a memberof Mikveh Israel 
Congregation in Philadelphia, and made the largest 
single contribution to the erection of its first building 
in 1782. The following year, Salomon joined with other 
prominent Jews in an address to the Pennsylvania 
Council of Censors, urging them to remove the 
religious test oath required for office holding under 
the State Constitution. And in 1784, he responded to 
a personal slander in the press by proclaiming: "I am 
a Jew; it is my own nation ... I do not despair... that 
we shall obtain every other privilege that we aspire to 
enjoy along with our fellow-citizens." 

Extracted from a paper by Dr. Samuel 
Rezneck, Professor Emeritus of History, Rensselaer 
Polytechnic Institute. 

58 mm / Medallic Art Company 
950 Bronze / 440 Pure Silver / 8 Gold-Plated Pure Silver 

14 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 


Original plaster model had error of "LEV. 52:10" — which was corrected to "LEV. 
25:10" — before medals were struck. 

Stamp-like labels issued to raise funds for the Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. were 
based on the Jewish-American Hall of Fame's Haym Salomon medal. 

HAYM SALOMON 1740-1785 


Mel Wacks /15 

JAHF6 /1374 


1878 -1963 

Medalist: Jacques Schnier 

Obverse: Portrait, HERBERT H. LEHMAN 1878-1963. 

Reverse: Tzadik (Hebrew: righteous one) within Star of David, TO DO JUSTLY, LOVE MERCY, 

Upon graduation from Williams College in 
1899, Herbert Henry Lehman joined his father's 
investment banking firm — Lehman Brothers. He 
began a long career in public service when he was 
commissioned as a captain in the War Department 
Ordnance Bureau during World War I, where he 
eventually rose to the rank of colonel in the War 
Claims Board. After several visits to devastated 
Europe, he helped found the American Jewish Joint 
Distribution Committee. 

Lehman became active in politics, and was 
elected as Lieutenant Governor of New York, with 
Franklin Delano Roosevelt as Governor, in 1928. He 
was Roosevelt's right hand man, and was elected 
Governor in 1932 by an unprecedented plurality of 
close to a million votes. Lehman fought for a wide 
range of minimum wage, social security and general 
welfare bills during and following the Depression — 
and was reelected four more times. He resigned in 
1942 to become head of the newly formed United 
Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration, 
whose task was to minister to the war-torn civilian 

16 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

populations of the former Axis-occupied areas. 
England's Noel-Baker gave Lehman the following 
testimonial: "No tougher assignment was ever faced 
by any man. He has carried it through. His greatest 
service has been the moral authority which he has 
established with the governments and the peoples of 
the world." 

At the age of 72, Herbert H. Lehman took 
on another major public service — as New York's 
Senator. In Congress, he courageously crusaded 
against McCarthyism and restrictive immigration 
quotas. This immigrant's son eloquently spoke 
before the President's Commission on Immigration 
and Naturalization in 1952, saying: "This [quota] 
system is based on the same discredited racial 
theories from which Adolph Hitler developed the 
infamous Nuremberg Laws. It is the complete denial 
of Americanism. To defend ourselves against the 
evil implications of this concept we recently fought 
a great war... and sacrificed hundreds of thousands 
of American lives, including untold numbers whose 
names were not Smith, Brown or Jones." 

47 x45 mm / Medallic Art Company 
450 Bronze / 240 Pure Silver / 8 Gold-Plated Pure Silver 


Jacques Schnier holds the plaster model for the 
1936 Bay Bridge Commemorative Half Dollar, 
the only other numismatic item that he created 
besides the Herbert H. Lehman medal. 

The 1936 Bay Bridge 
Commemorative Half Dollar. 

Mel Wacks/17 

JAHF7 /1975 


1745 -1816 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 

Obverse: Portrait, Gershom Seixas (script) 1745-1816. 

Reverse: Seixas leading congregants out of Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue (New York), carrying 
ceremonial objects, Gerta Wiener. 

In late August, 1776, when news came that the 
British were approaching New York, Rabbi Gershom 
Mendes Seixas of Congregation Shearith Israel (The 
Spanish-Portuguese Synagogue) decided to close 
the synagogue rather than keep it open under British 

There were many men in America's oldest 
congregation who had been so outspoken against 
the Crown, that their lives would have been in 
jeopardy. Seixas saw to it that all of the ceremonial 
objects — the scrolls, prayer books and candlesticks 
— were taken away for safekeeping. At the close of 
the Revolutionary War, Reverend Seixas returned all 
of these items to the congregation, where they can 
be seen to this day. 

Seixas not only fought the British, but fought 
intolerance as well. In 1783, he successfully sought 
revisions in a constitutional clause, newly adopted 
by the Pennsylvania legislature, requiring a religious 
examination foroffice seekers. He was one of fourteen 
clergymen participating in George Washington's first 

inaugural (1787), and continued to be one of the most 
vigorous defenders of the much-maligned James 
Madison administration during the War of 1812. 

Gershom Mendes Seixas, the first native- 
born Jewish minister in the United States, was also 
active as a trustee in the Humane Society and as one 
of the first Regents of the New York State University. 
He was also the only non-Episcopalian to serve as a 
trustee of Columbia University, from 1787 to 1815. 

The Seixas family has contributed many 
prominent Americans—Gershom's brother, Abraham 
Mendes (1751-99), was an officer in the Revolutionary 
Army; another brother, Benjamin Mendes (1748- 
1817), was one of the founders of the New York Stock 
Exchange; and a third brother, Moses Mendes (1744- 
1809), was one of the organizers of the Bank of Rhode 
Island and the president of the historic Newport 
Synagogue. Gershom's son, David, established the 
Deaf and Dumb Institute in Philadelphia, and was 
among the first to discover efficient ways of burning 
anthracite coal. 

18 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

47x45 mm / Medallic Art Company 
250 Bronze / 205 Pure Silver 


Gerta Ries 
of colonial 
clothing while 
doing research 
for the reverse 
design of the 
Mendes Seixas 

sketches for 
the reverse of 
the Gershom 
Mendes Seixas 

Mel Wacks/19 

JAHF8 /1376 


1860 -1845 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 

Obverse: Portrait, HENRIETTA SZOLD 1860-1945, Gerta Wiener. 

Reverse: Szold with children in Youth Aliya program, MAKE MINE EYES LOOKTOWARDSTHE 

Henrietta Szold was born in Baltimore, 
Maryland in i860, a little more than a year after 
her parents arrived from Hungary. Her father, a 
prominent rabbi, gave Henrietta the attention and 
education usually reserved for an eldest son. She 
learned German, English, French and Hebrew. In 
1899, she took on the lion's share of producing the 
first American Jewish Year Book, for which Szold was 
the sole editor from 1904 to 1908. 

In 1909, Ms. Szold first visited Palestine. 
During hertourshe was impressed both by the beauty 
of the land and the misery and disease among the 
people. And so, with the support of Rabbi Judah L. 
Magnes, she formed Hadassah in 1912. Within a year, 
the fledgling organization had two American nurses 
in Jerusalem. Today, Hadassah's great hospitals in 
Jerusalem are world famous, treating over 25,000 
patients and handling over 1.5 million medical tests 
annually, for Jews and Arabs alike. 

The Henrietta Szold-Hadassah School of 
Nursing has trained over 1,500 nurses, and the 
Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School has 
graduated more than 1,300 doctors. 

In 1933, at the age of 73, Szold embarked on a 
major new project, rescuing Jewish children from the 
oncoming Holocaust. Despite obstacles in dealing 
with the British Mandate government in Palestine, 
by 1948 her Youth Aliya program had brought 30,000 
children from troubled Europe to Palestine. Even 
at the age of 81, Henrietta Szold accepted a new 
challenge — planning the Fund for Child and Youth 

Today, Hadassah's third of a million members 
and 1,350 chapters around the world make it one 
of the largest philanthropic organizations, as well 
as a living tribute to the hard work and vision of its 
founder, Henrietta Szold. 

20 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

47x45 mm / Medallic Art Company 
300 Bronze / 180 Pure Silver 


Wiener indicated that "[Szold] looks serious but with a little smile, as I imagine she may have looked. 
As she was a writer I think that the book is a good touch." Henrietta Szold's hands were enlarged from the 
clay version by the time sculptress Gerta Ries Wiener had cast the plaster model, and other changes were 
made. The mint made an additional unauthorized change when they extended the areas below and to the 
left and right sides of the book. 

After Ms. Wiener thought that she had 
completed the plaster models, an officer of 
Hadassah asked her to add the organization's 
motto in Hebrew "The healing of the daughter of 
my people," which Wiener reluctantly did. 


JAHF9 /1977 



Medalist: Victor Ries 

Obverse: Touro Synagogue, NATIONAL • HISTORIC • SITE ‘TOURO • SYNAGOGUE • 
NEWPORT • RHODE • ISLAND • DEDICATED • 1763, VR monogram. 

Reverse: Torah crowns and rimonim, THE UNITED STATES GIVES TO BIGOTRY NO SANCTION, 

On August 31,1947, the National Park Service 
of the United States Department of the Interior 
unveiled a bronze tablet designating the Touro 
Synagogue of Newport, Rhode Island as a National 
Historic Shrine. This handsome colonial building is 
the oldest standing synagogue in the United States. 
It was designed by Peter Harrison, who combined his 
Georgian Colonial style with thetraditional synagogue 
architecture of the Spanish and Portuguese Jews. 
The Reverend Ezra Styles described the building 
as "the most perfect of the Temple kind perhaps in 
America," when he attended its dedication in 1763. 

President George Washington visited 
Newport on August 17,1790 when he was presented 
with a letter from Moses Seixas, President of the 
Congregation, extolling the new government, 
"which to bigotry gives no sanction, to persecution 
no assistance." In his reply, Washington repeated this 
moving phrase, which has been credited to him ever 

22 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

President Truman wrote to the Congregation 
in 1947, saying: "The setting apart of this historic 
shrine as a national monument is symbolic of 
our tradition of freedom, which has inspired men 
and women of every creed, race and ancestry to 
contribute their highest gifts to the development of 
our national culture." 

Isaac Touro, native of Holland, was appointed 
Hazan (Minister) of Yeshuat Israel Congregation 
even before construction began in 1759. He served 
as spiritual leader until the British occupied Newport 
in December 1776, after which most of the Jews left, 
relinquishing much of their wealth. 

Isaac Touro's son, Judah, born on June 16, 
1775, was raised by his uncle in Boston. In 1801, 
Judah sought his fortune in New Orleans, where he 
prospered as a merchant. He served as a volunteer 
in the American Army at the Battle of New Orleans 
(1815), where he was severely wounded. Judah Touro's 
real claim to fame was the generosity of the bequests 

47 x45 mm / Roger Williams Mint 
250 Bronze / 180 Pure Silver / i5l4ktGold 

made in his will. He donated a total of $143,000 to 
congregations, schools, and other Jewish institutions 
in seventeen cities throughout America, including 
$10,000 to the Congregation in Newport, henceforth 
known as the Touro Synaggogue. 

Judah Touro's gifts to non-Jewish institutions 
in New Orleans, Boston and Newport totaled 
an additional $153,000. Another bequest, from 
his brother, Abraham, was used to erect Touro 
Synagogue's front gate in 1843. 


Initially, the interior of the Touro 
Synagogue was to appear on the medal. However, 
in a letter dated October 22, 1976 to Mel Wacks, 
Director of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, 
Ries writes: "The inside of the synagogue is the 
trouble spot. I hammered this the way I did with 
the toroth [reverse design]. It looked lousy, so I 
destroyed it. I called Mr. Fromer (Director of the 
Magnes Museum)... and we both decided to drop 
it and use the outside of theTemple." Wacks wrote 
on October 30 to Ries saying it was "okay if you 
use the exterior," and asked "Could I possibly see 
a sketch of your design?" That sketch is shown to 
the right. 

Ries based his reverse design on these 
Rimonim, pictured on a postcard published by 
Society of Friends of Touro Synagogue. The text 
indicates that "Two sets of Rimonim are the 
work of Myer Myers, New York, famous colonial 

Mel Wacks / 23 

JAHF10 /1978 


1898 -1978 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 

Obverse: Portrait, IN HONOR OF HER 8o • BIRTHDAY MAY 31978 • Golda Meir (signature). 
Reverse: Group of men and women of different religions and sects living in Israel, LET ALL OF 

Born in Kiev, Russia, Golda Mabovitch's family 
emigrated to the United States, settling in Milwaukee 
in 1906. From the time, at the age of ten, that she 
organized the American Young Sisters' Society to 
provide textbooks for the needy school children, 
Golda dedicated her life to solving the problems of 

An avowed Zionist since she settled in 
a kibbutz in Palestine with her husband, Morris 
Myerson, in 1921, Golda soon became involved in 
political activities. She served as an emissary to the 
Pioneer Women's Organization in the United States 
from 1932-4, and after her return to Palestine, joined 
the Executive Committee of the Histadrut, the 
General Federation of Israel Labor. Golda soon rose 
to become head of Histadrut's Political Department, 
and in 1946 served in the same role for the Jewish 
Agency until the establishment of the State of Israel 
two years later. 

Golda's perilous secret meeting with King 
Abdul-lah of Jordan, just before the Arab invasion 
was a dramatic attempt for last minute conciliation. 

24 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

David Ben-Gurion appointed Golda as 
Ministerto Moscow, and in 1949 she became Minister 
of Labor. She initiated large scale housing and road¬ 
building programs, and vigorously supported the 
policy of unrestricted immigration. 

It was not until Golda was appointed Foreign 
Minister, that she Hebraized her last name to Meir, 
at the behest of Ben-Gurion. As Foreign Minister 
(1956-1965), Golda was often Israel's spokesperson 
at the United Nations, where she pleaded for all of 
those who call the Holy Land home to "united, fight 
poverty and disease and illiteracy." 

After the death of Levi Eshkol in 1969, 
Golda Meir became the fourth Prime Minister of 
Israel. Originally thought to have been a stop-gap 
appointment, she went on to lead her party to victory 
in the next election, and continued to carry on indirect 
negotiations with Egypt through the outbreak of the 
Yom Kippur War in 1973. 

Despite her eminence, she was called simply 
"Golda" to everyone in Israel and on her frequent 

travels around the world. 

47 x45 mm / Roger Williams Mint 
465 Bronze / 245 Pure Silver / 25l4ktGold 


Gerta Ries Wiener sent Mel Wacks rough sketches of the 
Golda Meir medal designs in her letters. 

Early plaster model, which later was modified. 

Mel Wacks / 25 

JAHF11 /1979 


1829 -1902 

Medalist: Hal Reed 

Obverse: Portrait, Everyone knows his first name, Levi Strauss (signature), HR monogram. 
Reverse: Woodchopper, cowboy on horse, and gold panner, Levi's logo. 

Levi Strauss was 17 years old when he 
emigrated from Bavaria to New York in 1847. He 
worked for his two brothers, peddling clothing and 
household items throughout towns and villages 
in rural New York and Kentucky. Spurred on by 
exciting tales of opportunities for instant wealth 
in the California Gold Rush,, Strauss sailed to San 
Francisco on a clipper ship in 1850, loaded with 
canvas for tents and wagons. But after a short visit to 
the gold country, he realized there was a better use 
for the durable material. He took his unsold canvas 
to a tailor and had them fashioned into overalls. He 
later switched from canvas to a tough cotton fabric 
loomed in Nimes, France — called serge de Nimes 

In the 1860s Jacob Davis, a tailor in Carson 
City, Nevada, began riveting the pocket corners on 
miner's pants for added strength. Strauss liked the 
idea, and jointly with Davis applied for a patent, 
which was granted in 1873. 

Strauss was a very generous man; in 1897 
he contributed 28 perpetual scholarships to the 
University of California. Upon his death in 1902, he 
bequeathed tens of thousands of dollars to charitable 
institutions such as the Pacific Hebrew Orphan 
Asylum, Home for Aged Israelites, as well as to 
Roman Catholic and Protestant orphanages. 

During World War II, Levi's® were declared an 
essential commodity and were sold only to people 
engaged in defense work. Following the war, there 
was such an overwhelming demand for Levi's® that 
deliveries had to be rationed for almost two years. 
Today Levi Strauss & Co. is one of the largest apparel 
manufacturers in the world. The company's motto, 
"Everyone knows his first name," refers to the fact 
that Levi's® has entered the world's vocabulary as a 
generic term for blue jeans. 

Extracted from a brochure published by Levi 
Strauss & Co., San Francisco. 

26 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

47 x45 mm / Metal Arts 
400 Bronze / 180 Pure Silver / 2810ktGold 


United States Patent Office. 

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Original patent granted to Jacob Davis on May 10,1873 in behalf of himself and Levi 
Strauss & Company of San Francisco, California. 

Final plaster models for the Levi Strauss medal. Permission was obtained from Levi 
Strauss and Company to reproduce their logo on the medal's reverse. 

Mel Wacks / 27 

JAHF12 /1980 


1914 -1995 

Medalist: Hal Reed 

Obverse: Portrait, Jonas Salk (signature). 

Reverse Polio victim on crutches watches two boys playing with balls; Salk Institute in 
background; 1979 Hal Reed. 

Jonas Edward Salk was born in New York 
City on October 28, 1914. After graduating from 
the City College of New York, he went on to be a 
research fellow at the University of Michigan. There 
he helped in the development of an influenza vaccine 
and served as a member of the U.S. Army Influenza 
Commission. Moving to the University of Pittsburgh's 
School of Medicine, Salk became Research Professor 
of Bacteriology in 1949, Professor of Preventive 
Medicine 5 years later, and finally Professor of 
Experimental Medicine (1957-1963). 

At the University of Pittsburgh, Salk did 
research into poliomyelitis, developing immunological 
methods to distinguish different types of the virus. 
He then developed a vaccine prepared by inactivating 
the virus. Massive field trials conducted by the 
National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in 1954, 
confirmed the effectiveness of the vaccine, which 
became the first weapon against the polio scourge. 
In the years immediately before mass inoculations 
with the Salk vaccine began, there was an average 
of 25,000 cases a year in the United States. In 1969 

28 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

not a single death from polio was reported in the 
nation, and the disease has virtually been eradicated 
worldwide. For his pioneering accomplishment, Dr. 
Salk received many honors and awards, including the 

47 x45 mm / Metal Arts 
300 Bronze / 30 Pewter / 110 Pure Silver / 35 lOkt Gold 

the World Health Organization in 1961, and two years 
later founded the Salk Institute for Biological Studies 
at La Jolla, California, which he directed until his 
death. The Salk Institute is one of the world's major 
independent centers of biological research, with an 
annual budget of over 12 million dollars and a staff of 

over 400. It is an architectural masterpiece by Louis 
Kahn. One of the great strengths of this "Athens of 
the Pacific" is the enhanced insight that arises from 
the interdisciplinary approach to problems and from 
the exchange of ideas of scientists from all over the 


Mel Wacks / 29 

JAHF13 /1381 


1781 -1869 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 

Obverse: Portrait, R Gratz (signature), Gerta Wiener. 

Reverse: Rebecca Gratz 1781-1869, "WERE VIRTUE AND RELIGION DEAD, SHE'D MAKETHEM 

Bernard Gratz (1738-1801) emigrated to 
America from Poland, via England, in 1754. Along 
with other merchants, he signed Non-Importation 
Agreements to boycott British goods during the 
Stamp Act and Townshend Act crises prior to the 
Revolution. The Gratz family wholeheartedly 
supported the American patriots, and supplied 
goods to the Continental Army. Bernard and his 
younger brother, Michael, helped found one of the 
first synagogues in America, which in 1773 evolved 
into Philadelphia's Congregation Mikveh Israel. 

Afterthe War, the Gratzes became involved in 
a successful struggle for equal rights in Pennsylvania. 
Michael's son Hyman founded Gratz College, but 
it was his daughter who is the "jewel of the Gratz 

Rebecca Gratz achieved literary immortality 
when, after hearing of her charm, beauty and 
goodness, Sir Walter Scott introduced a Jewish 
female character into the work that was then in 
progress. He even named the heroine (of Ivanhoe) 

30 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 


While she never married, Rebecca Gratz 
made a home for her unmarried brothers, and 
reared the nine orphaned children of her sister 
Rachel Moses. In her twenty-first year, she became 
secretary for the Female Association for the Relief of 
Women and Children in Reduced Circumstances, and 
in 1815 Rebecca was a founder of the Philadelphia 
Orphan Society. But, perhaps her most significant 
accomplishment was the founding of the Hebrew 
Sunday School Society, the first of its kind in America, 
and the model for all Jewish education in America. 

After her death in 1869, at the age of 88, 
Rebecca Gratz was mourned as one of the foremost 
women in America. Rabbi David Philipson wrote inthe 
introduction to the Letters of Rebecca Gratz: "She is 
not unworthy of having applied to her the exquisite 
words used of a rare woman by George Elliot, that 
'were all virtue and religion dead, she'd make them 
newly, being what she was.'" And those are the words 
inscribed on the reverse of the Rebecca Gratz medal. 

47 x45 mm / Metal Arts 
330 Bronze / 45 Pewter / 110 Pure Silver / 2ol0ktGold 


Gerta Ries 
sketch for the 
Gratz medal 
featured a 
different quote 
on the reverse. 

Rebecca in 
Ivanhoe as 
pictured in the 
first edition 
by Albert 
Henry Payne, 
1851, and as 
portrayed by 
Elizabeth Taylor 
in the 1952 


JAHF14 /1982 


1920 - 2001 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 

Obverse: Portrait of Stern playing his 1740 Guarneri, Gerta Wiener. 
Reverse: Marquee of Carnegie Hall. 

Virtuoso violinist Isaac Stern was born in 
Kreminiesz, Russia on July 21,1920. When just a year 
old, his family emigrated to the United States and 
settled in San Francisco. Stern took up the violin at 
the age of eight, and within three years was a soloist 
with the San Francisco Symphony. 

Stern's memorable Carnegie Hall debut was 
made in 1943. In i960, thanks largely to his efforts, 
historic Carnegie Hall (opened May 5, 1891) was 
saved from demolition — and he continued to serve 
as its president for over three decades. 

Isaac Stern has appeared in concerts 
throughout the world, playing his 1740 Guarneri, 
gaining recognition as an unofficial "United States 
Musical Ambassador." Antonio Stradivari made 
about 1,100 violins during his lifetime, in the 17th and 

32 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

early 18th centuries, of which about 550 survive. But 
the instrument preferred by Stern is one of just 150 
violins made by Giuseppe Guarneri del Gesu during 
the same period. Strads are often described as 
sounding sweet and golden, while Guarneriuses are 
more dusky or earthy and sensuous. 

A movie about Stern's trip to China, From Mao 
to Mozart, won an Academy Award. Stern found time 
to playa role inthe Broadway showTonight We Sing in 
1952; he also inaugurated the Mann Auditorium in Tel 
Aviv (1957) and founded the Jerusalem Music Centre 
in 1973. In addition, Stern has served as the president 
of the American-lsrael Cultural Foundation, and 
was appointed in 1965 as a member of the National 
Council on Arts. 

47 x45 mm / Metal Arts 
320 Bronze / 50 Pewter / 110 Pure Silver / 26 lOkt Gold 
Later struck by Roger Williams Mint in 2001 for the Israel 
Government Coins & Medals Corp.: 200 bronze (edge 
numbered 321-520), 200 pure silver (edge numbered 111-310). 


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Early sketch of the Carnegie Hall reverse design for the Isaac 
Stern medal in a letter from Ms. Wiener to Mel Wacks. It was later 
decided not to have an inscription in exergue. 

Early plaster model featured Stern in a cardigan. It was later 
determined that he should be wearing more formal attire. 

Mel Wacks/33 

JAHF15 /1383 


1849 -1887 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 

Obverse: Portrait, 1849-1887, surrounded by name and quote in Lazarus' own handwriting, 
Emma Lazarus: "Give me your tired, your poor... yearning to breathe free." 

Reverse: New immigrants passing by the Statue of Liberty, Gerta Wiener. 

In 1883, a Pedestal Art Loan Exhibition was 
held to raise funds forthe Statue of Liberty's pedestal. 
Walt Whitman, Mark Twain, and others contributed 
original manuscripts, but the highest bid of $1,500 
was received for a sonnet "The New Colossus" 
written just a few days earlier. The immortal words 
were written by young Emma Lazarus, soon after her 
return from a European trip, where she had seen the 
persecution of Jews and others first hand: 

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, 

With conquering limbs astride from land to land, 

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand 
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame 
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name 
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand 
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command 
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. 

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" Cries she, 
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, 

34 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, 

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, 

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. 

I lift my lamp beside the golden door." 

It was not until 1888 that the Statue of Liberty 
assumed her majestic place in New York's harbor. 
Sadly, Emma Lazarus didn't witness this historical 
event since she died of cancer a year earlier, when she 
was only 38 years old. 

Actually, Emma's poem might have been 
forgotten, but for the efforts of Georgiana Schuyler, 
who had the words inscribed on a tablet and affixed 
inside the Statue of Liberty in 1903. In 1945, the 
tablet was moved from the second story landing to 
the Statue's entrance, where it can be seen today. 

In addition to her own writings, Lazarus — 
who hadn't studied Hebrew until her 34th year — 
made scholarly translations of Ben Ezra, Gabirol and 
Halevi. She even found time to help establish the 
Hebrew Technical Institute of New York. 

47 x 45 mm / Johnson Matthey 
450 Bronze / 55 Pewter / 135 Pure Silver / 26 lOkt Gold 


Excerpt from the manuscript of the sonnet "The New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus, 
dated 1883, in the collection of the American Jewish Historical Society. 

Gerta Ries Wiener's preliminary sketches for the Emma Lazarus medal. Note that 
Lazarus' handwritten excerpt from The New Colossus and the New York skyline were 

added later. 

Mel Wacks/35 

JAHF16 /1384 


1904 -1991 

Medalists: Obverse by Robert Russin, reverse by Mel Wacks 
Obverse: Portrait, Isaac B Singer (signature), RUSSIN. 

Reverse: FREEWILL ... IS LIFE'S ESSENCE (English andYiddish). 

Twenty-nine year old Isaac Bashevis Singer, 
sensing the rapidly approaching catastrophe in 
Europe, fled Poland and came to America in 1935. 
His sole claim to fame at the time was a single 
Yiddish book published in Poland: Satan in Goray. 
He could speak only three words of English: "Take 
a chair." Singer feared that his lot "was to be one of 
those writers who write one book and become silent 

For the next ten years Singer barely eked out 
a living as a critic for the leading Yiddish newspaper, 
The Forward. In this period, his total income from 
serious literary efforts amounted to a minuscule 
$90 honorarium received when Satan in Goray was 
published in the United States in Yiddish in 1943, the 
same year that Singer became an American citizen. 

Finally in 1945, Singer began writing The 
Family Moskat, which was serialized each week in 
The Forward. He continued writing for them, saying 
"I haven't missed a week, except that I get four 
week's vacation." Translated into English. Singer's 
delightful stories have appeared in Commentary, 

36 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

The New Yorker, and even Playboy magazine. His 
editor at Doubleday wrote that "Isaac Bashevis 
Singer is a literary figure of imposing stature. [His] 
prolific output of short stories, children's books, 
plays, scholarly works and novels are received and 
embraced by an enormous and devoted audience." In 
an interview, Rebecca West indicated "I regard Isaac 
Bashevis Singer as the greatest writer of today." 

Love is a frequent theme in Singer's writings, 
along with religion and the occult. His books have 
twice won the National Book Award, and often found 
their way into best seller lists. They include The 
Spinoza of Market Street, The Magician of Lublin, 
The Slave, In My Father's Court, Passions, and Lost 
in America. One of Singer's short stories, Yentl, was 
transformed into a major motion picture by Barbra 

Success did not change him. After receiving 
the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1978, Isaac Bashevis 
Singer said: "I will still live at the same address. I will 
still have the same telephone number. Do you think 
that winning a prize can change a man's character?" 

47 x 45 mm / Johnson Matthey 
350 Bronze / 60 Pewter / 100 Pure Silver / 2ilOktGold 


Robert Russin sculpted Isaac Bashevis Singer's portrait from life. However, it was thought that 
the raised hexagonal border would be difficult to strike and that the signature was too small. Sculptor 
Alex Shagin made the modifications with the approval of Russin. 

Russin's original reverse 
design was considered a bit too racy 
by Mel Wacks, and so calligrapher 
Susan Fisher was called on to create 
the reverse design, based on a quote 
from one of Singer's books. 

When Singer was consulted, 
he indicated that he thought this 
quote was "banal," and he supplied 
the quote that was finally used on the 

Mel Wacks / 37 

JAHF17 /1985 


1858 -1935 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 
Obverse: Portrait, Gerta Wiener. 

Reverse: Turn-of-the-century newsstand, The NewYorkTimes, "All the News That's Fit to Print." 

While Adolph Ochs' formal education was 
sketchy, he described his work at the Knoxville 
(Tennessee) Chronicle as his "high school and 
university." Beginning as office boy in 1869, at the 
age of 11, he was soon promoted to delivery boy at a 
weekly salary of $1.50. From that time until his death, 
Ochs never left the newspaper business. He was a 
founder of the Southern Associated Press, and was 
its chairman from 1891 to 1894. For 35 years, Ochs 
served as a director of the Associated Press. 

At the age of 38, Ochs took on the 
monumental task of reviving the financially ailing 
New York Times. He insisted on a clean, upright and 
impartial approach to the news. After only three years 
of his dynamic leadership, The Times was showing a 
profit. Ochs purchased a controlling interest in 1900. 
Starting with a circulation of 9,000, The New York 
Times — at the time of Ochs's death — sold almost a 
half million copies daily and nearly three-quarters of 
a million copies each Sunday. He had made it one of 
the greatest newspapers in the world. 

38 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Adolph Ochs headed the five million dollar 
campaign for the creation of Hebrew Union College's 
endowment fund. He served as a trustee of Temple 
Emanu-El in New York, and as a symbol of interfaith 
goodwill. In 1930, Ochs presented two 12-foot 
candelabra (menorahs) to the Cathedral of St. John 
the Divine. 

Undoubtedly, Ochs's greatest humanitarian 
effort was the creation of The New York Times 
Neediest Cases Fund in 1912, to provide money for 
"exceptionally deserving persons among the city's 
poor." That first year $3,630.88 was raised. Recent 
years have seen contributions mounting to several 
million dollars annually, donated by tens of thousands 
of Times' readers. Every cent contributed goes to the 
needy, with no deductions for administrative costs. 
Thus, this son of immigrants — a lad who began his 
auspicious career by earning $1.50 a week at the age 
of 11 — has left a legacy that can make all Americans 

47 x 45 mm / Johnson Matthey 
400 Bronze / 60 Pewter / 100 Pure Silver / 24l0ktGold 


Preliminary sketches by Gerta Ries Wiener wouldn't have been able to decipher it and wouldn't 
for the Adolph Ochs medal featured his signature have known whom the gentleman represented." 
and the New York Times building in Times Square. Wacks suggested "to eliminate the building and 
Wiener wrote to Wacks saying: "To my great regret I [instead have] a small boy selling newspapers in its 
decided not to use his doodle-signature. Most people place."The medalist did the former but not the latter. 

Seymour Fromer, Director of the Magnes Museum, discovered that Adolph 
Ochs' name had been misspelled on the plaster as "ADOLF S. OCHS." This was 
corrected at the mint before any medals had been struck. 

Mel Wacks/39 

JAHF18 /1386 



1437 -1508 


? -1488 



1452 - c.1515 

Medal commemorates the 500th anniversary of Columbus'first meeting with Queen Isabella. 
Medalist: PaulVincze 

Santa Maria in center, 1492, P. VINCZE. 

Reverse: Columbus kneeling before Queen Isabella et al, i486 in exergue, P. VINCZE 

There has been much speculation over the 
centuries as to whether Christopher Columbus 
may have been Jewish or of Jewish descent. The 
Encyclopaedia Britannica indicates that he may have 
come from a Spanish-Jewish family settled in Genoa, 
Italy. But there is no question that it was his Spanish- 
Jewish friends who were instrumental in arranging 
for his meeting with the Spanish Monarchs in i486, 
and who turned his dream into reality. 

Contrary to popular opinion, it was not 
Queen Isabella's jewelry, but Spanish Jewry that 
made Columbus' historical trip of discovery possible. 
Actually it was Luis de Santangel, whose grandfather 
had converted from Judaism to Christianity under 
pressure of Spanish persecutions, who lent nearly 
5 million maravedis to pay for the voyage. In 
addition, Santangel's influence with King Ferdinand 

40 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

and Queen Isabella was decisive in gaining their 
acceptance of Columbus' proposals. In recognition 
of his assistance, Santangel was the first to hear of 
the historic discoveries directly, in a personal letter 
from Columbus. Showing his allegiance to his former 
co-religionists, Luis de Santangel made substantial 
contributions toward the hiring of ships that enabled 
them to leave when they were expelled en mass from 

Another of Columbus' stalwart friends was 
Don Isaac Abravanel, who had remained loyal to his 
religion, and who was one of the most distinguished 
biblical scholars, philosophers and statesmen of the 
period. He also helped to finance Columbus' voyage, 
although he was not there to greet the great explorer 
upon his return, since Abravanel had been expelled 

58 mm / Medallic Art Company 
500 Bronze / 230 Pure Silver / solOktGold 

from Spain in 1492 along with all of the other Jews, 
in spite of his high position in the court of Ferdinand 
and Isabella. 

Astronomer and rabbi Abraham Zacuto was 
also forced to leave his native Spain. He was later 
named Royal Mathematician to the Portuguese 

royal court. There, he improved the astrolabe (early 
navigational instrument) and prepared astronomical 
tables, greatly improving navigational accuracy on 
the high seas. A copy of Zacuto's astronomical tables, 
along with Columbus' personal annotations, is still 
preserved in Seville. 


Preliminary sketch by Paul Vincze shows 
rough layout without inscriptions. 

Vincze's clay modeling in near-finished stage. 

Mel Wacks/41 

JAHF19 /1987 


1870 -1938 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 

Obverse: Portrait, Benjamin Cardozo (signature), Gerta Wiener. 

Reverse: U.S. Supreme Court building, THE FINAL CAUSE OF LAW ISTHE WELFARE OF 

Born in 1870 as a twin, Benjamin Cardozo 
grew up in his family's Madison Avenue home in New 
York City. His early education was carried out at home 
... and his tutor was Horatio Alger, who was already 
a world-famous author of "rags to riches" books. 
Cardozo enrolled in Columbia University before his 
16th birthday, becoming its youngest student. He 
graduated with the highest scholastic record in its 

In 1913, following the urging of civic reform 
leaders, Cardozo won a seat on the New York 
Supreme Court. After serving for only a few months, 
the governor named him to the more prestigious 
Court of Appeals, where he served with great 
distinction until President Hoover appointed him to 
the United States Supreme Court in 1932 — where he 
served until his death in 1938. 

Cardozo's opinions are easily recognized 
by their "clarity, conciseness suffused with moral 
luminosity, and a command of historical material 
that is unrivaled in the entire common-law tradition," 
according to Judge Sidney Asch. 

42 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Benjamin Cardozo is particularly noted for his 
original thinking as expounded in his books, where he 
emphasized that a judge had to look beyond the legal 
authorities to meet responsibility to those seeking 
justice. He was a bulwark in defense of New Deal 
legislation, ruling in favor of the constitutionality of 
important programs such as social security and old- 
age pensions. 

Between February 1, 1790 when the United 
States Supreme Court first met in New York City, 
and October 7, 1935 when the justices convened in 
their present building in Washington, D.C., the court 
held sessions in a dozen different places including 
Philadelphia's Independence Hall, the basement of 
the Capitol, and even at Long's Tavern in Washington. 
The Supreme Court Building was built thanks to the 
efforts of President—and later Chief Justice—William 
Howard Taft. In 1929, Congress appropriated 9.74 
million dollars for the Supreme Court Building. The 
classic Greek-Corinthian structure was completed 
under budget, and $94,000 was returned to the US 

45 x44 mm / Medallic Art Company 
400 Bronze / 118 Pure Silver / 3ol0ktGold 




f 0 &^ ! 

UP w, ™ m 

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f^c~ J 



JAHF20 /1988 


1792 -1862 

Medalist: Hal Reed 

Obverse: Portrait, sailing ship, flogging scene and anti-flogging petition, COMMODORE URIAH 
P. LEVY • 1792 • 1862, HR monogram. 

Reverse: Monticello, Th Jefferson (signature). 

Forty years before French army officer 
Alfred Dreyfus was court-martialed, convicted 
and eventually exonerated in trials based on anti- 
Semitism, an American naval officer was facing 
similar tribulations. The American court's verdict 
was unanimous for the 63 year old defendant: 
"Uriah P. Levy is morally, mentally, physically and 
professionally fit for the Naval Service and ought to 
be restored to the active list of the Navy." Within 
five years of this court-martial, Levy was placed in 
command of the entire Mediterranean Fleet and was 
elevated to the Navy's highest rank — Commodore. 

Uriah Phillips Levy was born in 1792 in 
Philadelphia. He was barely 14 years old when he 
embarked on his naval career by signing on as a cabin 
boy. Seven years later he volunteered for service in 
the United States Navy during the War of 1812, as 
"proof of love to my country." The next year, Uriah 
was captured and imprisoned by the British until 
the end of the war. In the years following, he faced 
persecution from many naval officers, he had to 
defend himself in a duel, and was subjected to six 
courts-martial, all instigated by anti-Semitism. 

44 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Throughout his life, Uriah P. Levy, was active 
in religious life; he was the first president of the 
Washington Hebrew Congregation, and in 1854 he 
sponsored the new Seminary of the Bnai Jesherun 
Educational Institute in New York. 

It was Levy's wish that he be remembered 
for his singular efforts to abolish the barbarous 
punishment of flogging in the U.S. Navy, which 
resulted in Congressional approval of an anti-flogging 
bill in 1850. 

Uriah P. Levy regarded Thomas Jefferson 
as "one of the greatest men in history, who did 
much to mold the Republic in a form in which man's 
religion does not make him ineligible for political or 
governmental life." Thus, about 10 years after the 
former President's death in 1826, Levy purchased 
Jefferson's rundown estate, that was virtually in ruin. 
He began a long and costly program of renovation and 
restoration, including the purchase of an additional 
2,500 acres adjoining the historic property. After 
Levy's death in 1862, his will directed that Monticello 
— the house and property — be left "to the people of 
the United States." 

47 x45 mm / Medallic Art Company 
350 Bronze / 118 Pure Silver / 25l0ktGold 


A drawing on tracing paper, which medalist Hal Reed used to transfer the reverse design to 
wax so it could be modeled into the final relief. Note that it was originally planned to place 
the inscription "MONTICELLO" above the building, but afterthe model was completed, it was 
decided to incuse Thomas Jefferson's signature above the dome. 

Plaster model of the reverse of Uriah P. Levy medal, 
with "MONTICELLO" above the dome. 

Mel Wacks / 45 

JAHF20A /1388 


1888 -1888 

Medalist: Marika Somogyi 

Design: Portrait, Irving Berlin (signature), Marika, IN HONOR OF IRVING BERLIN'S 100th 
BIRTHDAY, MAY n, 1988. 

The son of a cantor, Irving Berlin was born 
Israel Baline on May 11, 1888 near the Siberian 
border, in the Russian village of Tyumen. An anti- 
Semitic pogrom in 1893 persuaded his fatherto bring 
the entire family, including eight children, to New 

In 1924, songwriter Jerome Kern observed 
"Irving Berlin has no place in American music — he 
is American music." Berlin's songs include America's 
unofficial national anthem God Bless America, as 
well as perennial standards Easter Parade and White 
Christmas, plus about 1,500 more, for which he wrote 
both music and lyrics. 

Irving Berlin was honored in 1944 by the 
National Conference of Christians and Jews for 
"advancing the aims of the conference to eliminate 

religious and racial conflict." Five years later, he 
was honored by the New York YMHA as one of "12 
outstanding Americans of the Jewish faith." And 
in recognition of the song God Bless America, Mr. 
Berlin was presented with a special Congressional 
gold medal in 1954 by President Dwight Eisenhower. 
Earlier, the composer had assigned the copyright 
to the God Bless America Fund, which has raised 
millions of dollars for the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. 

Following a gala 100th birthday celebration 
concert at Carnegie Hall, Morton Gould, president of 
ASCAP, said that "Irving Berlin's music will last not for 
just an hour, not for just a day, not for just a year, but 
always." Not bad for a poor immigrant who had only 
two years of formal schooling and who never learned 
to read or write music! 

46 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

232 x220 mm / Greco Industries 
Unique Bronze Plaque (No medals made, by request of Irving Berlin.) 


original sketch 
for the Irving 
Berlin plaque 
dummied in his 

Plaster model 
for Irving 
Berlin plaque. 
Note that 
signature has 
been modified 
from original 
sketch, based 
on autograph 
supplied by Mr. 

Mel Wacks / 47 

JAHFS1 /1989 


1909 -1966 

Medalist: Marika Somogyi 

Obverse: Portrait, Benny Goodman (signature). 

Reverse: Benny Goodman with band and dancers, THE KING OF SWING 1909-1986, Marika. 

Benjamin David Goodman grew up in a tough 
Chicago ghetto. His father took Benny and two 
brothers to a local synagogue, where they received 
musical instruments and lessons. Benny later studied 
with Franz Shoepp, a clarinetist in the Chicago 
Symphony, which undoubtedly accounts for his love 
of classical music. 

Benny Goodman made history at the Palomar 
Ballroom in Los Angeles on August 21,1935, when the 
crowd of jumping, cheering youngsters surrounded 
the bandstand during a swinging arrangement of 
Sugar Foot Stomp — and the Swing Era was born! 
History was made again in March, 1937 when more 
than 21,000 people jammed their way into the New 
York Paramount Theater to bounce in their seats and 
dance in the aisles to the Benny Goodman Band. And 
his 1938 Carnegie Hall Jazz Concert has earned an 
honored place in America's musical folklore. 

Less known is that the Benny Goodman 
Quartet, featuring Gene Krupa on drums, Teddy 
Wilson on piano, and vibraphonist Lionel Hampton, 
made the first dent in the color barrier that had until 
then kept bands all white or all black. Hampton has 
said that "the Benny Goodman Quartet was the 
forerunner of getting Jackie Robinson into baseball." 

48 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Goodman was equally at home playing 
Mozart with the Boston Symphony or jamming 
at Harlem's Savoy Ballroom. Bartok dedicated his 
clarinet trio Contrasts to Benny Goodman in 1938; 
later Goodman commissioned Aaron Copeland's 
Concerto for Clarinet and String Orchestra in 1947, and 
Morton Gould's Derivations for Clarinet and Band in 
1955. Benny Goodman was also a composer, having 
co-written standards such as Stompin' at the Savoy 
and Swingtime in the Rockies. 

Benny Goodman was elected to the faculties 
of the Juilliard School of Music and Boston University. 
In 1962, when "The King of Swing" made a successful 
tour of the Soviet Union, one newspaper reporter 
quipped that "Khrushchev would trade three Sputniks 
fora Russian Benny Goodman!" 

The Big Broadcast of 1937 was the first of a 

long list of movies in which Goodman appeared, 

and, of course, he supplied all of the clarinet solos 

for the 1956 hit The Benny Goodman Story, starring 

Steve Allen. Anyone who was lucky enough to see 

Benny Goodman in person, listen to him on the radio, 

or dance to his records, knows why he was called 

"America's Number One Musician" by musicologist 

Hal Davis. , „ .... A 

47 x45 mm / Medallic Art Company 

300 Bronze / no Pure Silver / 2olOktGold 


Marika's original sketches forthe Benny 
Goodman medal; the reverse was 
modified to include dancing couples. 

Marika Somogyi beside plaque 
made from her original plaster 
model for the Benny Goodman 
medal. This plaque now hangs in 
the Virginia Holocaust Museum 
along with all of the other Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame plaques. 

Mel Wacks/49 

JAHF22 /1390 


1877 -1967 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 

Obverse: Portrait with young girl, BELA SCHICK M.D. 1877-1967. 

Reverse: Running young girl, The World is kept alive by the breath of Children. Talmud, GERTA 

Youthful Bela Schick quoted the Talmud: "The 
world is kept alive by the breath of children," to help 
persuade his father to allow him to pursue continued 
education in pediatrics, rather than to join the family 
grain-merchant business in Graz, Austria. Schick 
became assistant at the Children's Clinic in Vienna, 
and later associate professor of pediatrics at Vienna 

He emigrated to the United States, and in 
1923 became pediatrician-in-chief at New York's 
Mount Sinai Hospital. He later (1936) was appointed 
clinical professor of pediatrics at Columbia University. 
Schick made important studies on scarlet fever, 
tuberculosis, and the nutrition for infants ... but 
gained international renown for the Schick Test. This 
test determined susceptibility to diphtheria, and 
eventually led to the eradication of the childhood 
disease that attacked 100,000 Americans in 1927, 
leading to about 10,000 deaths. 

A massive five-year campaign, coordinated by 

Dr. Schick, virtually eliminated the dreaded disease 
that had taken countless young lives since it was first 
mentioned in the sixth century writings of Aetius. As 
a part of the campaign, 85 million pieces of literature 
were distributed by Metropolitan Life Co. with an 
appeal to parents to "Save your child from diphtheria." 
These illustrated brochures were created by a 
talented younq artist 

who had recently THE PRIZE WINNER 

emigrated from 
Germany — Gerta 
Ries. Remarkably, 
this same artist — 

Gerta Ries (Wiener) 

— was commissioned 
over 75 years later to 
create the medal of 
Bela Schick for the 
Jewish-American Hall 
of Fame. 

50 /Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

47 x45 mm / Medallic Art Company 
300 Bronze / no Pure Silver / 2olOktGold 


Gerta Ries Wiener's final drawing for 
the obverse of the Bela Schick medal. 

The drawing for the reverse was based 
on a girl in the building where Ms. 

Wiener lived. 

Mel Wacks / 51 

JAHFS3 /1991 


1911 -1986 

Medalist: Hal Reed 

Obverse: Portrait, Hank Greenberg (signature). 

Reverse: Greenberg at bat, We shall miss him on the infield. We shall miss him at the bat. But 
he's true to his religion and honor him for that. HENRY 'HANK'GREENBERG, 1911-1986, HR 
monogram. _ 

Henry Benjamin Greenberg was born in New 
York City on January 1, 1911. In 1925, 14 year- old 
Greenberg was a player on the Washington Avenue 
Annex Settlement House baseball team, which won 
the Bronx championship. Years later, Greenberg won 
a scholarship to New York University, but he quit 
after his first term to play baseball full time. 

Hank joined the Detroit Tigers in 1933 as 
a first baseman, and helped them win their first 
American League pennant in 25 years. The Tigers 
were champions again the following year, and Hank 
won the American League's Most Valuable Player 
award by a unanimous vote of the Baseball Writers 
Association; he won it again in 1940 after he had 
been switched to left field. 

After Hank Greenberg declined to play in an 
important game on Yom Kippur in 1934, Edgar Guest 
published a poem, the last lines of which are: "We 
shall miss him on the infield and shall miss him at the 
bat, but he's true to his religion — and I honor him for 

As the first Jewish baseball star, Hank 
Greenberg had to handle racial slurs from fans and 

52 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

opponents alike. Birdie Tebbetts, a Detroit team¬ 
mate of Greenberg's for seven seasons, recalled that, 
"There was nobody in the history of the game who 
took more abuse than Greenberg, unless it was Jackie 

Hank barely missed Babe Ruth's fabled record 
of 60 home runs, when he hit 58 in 1938. However, 
Greenberg did set a major league mark that year 
when he slammed two homers per game eleven 

At the peak of his career, in 1941, Hank 
Greenberg was inducted into the US Army, saying "I 
never asked for a deferment. I made up my mind to 
go when I was called." Rejoining the Tigers after his 
discharge on June 14,1945, in the heat of a pennant 
race, Hank hit a home run in his first game back, and 
blasted his famous grand slam home run in the last 
inning of the final game of the season. The man that 
Joe DiMaggio called "one of the truly great hitters," 
was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1956. 

47 x45 mm / Medallic Art Company 
690 Bronze / 100 Pure Silver / i2l0ktGold 
In 2011, fewer than 200 silver-plated bronze medals 
were issued with edge inscription: U HANK GREENBERG 



k. Greenberg's portrait was initially sculpted facing left, and was later changed to 
facing right. 

Penultimate stage of the reverse sculpt. Hank Greenberg's dates "1911-1986" 

were later inscribed into the bottom border. 

Mel Wacks / 53 

JAHF24 /1992 





Medalist: PaulVincze 

Obverse: Portrait, ChristopherColumbus Quincentennial 1992, AFTERYOU EXPELLEDTHE 
Reverse: Columbus, accompanied by Luis deTorres, meets native Americans in the New World, 
astrolabe below, 14921992, P. VINCZE. 

The history of Spanish (Sephardic) Jewry goes 
back at least 2,000 years to the time of the Roman 
Empire. The first anti-Jewish laws were passed in 589 
CE, when it was ruled that children of a mixed Jewish- 
Christian marriage should be baptized — and this 
soon led to a policy of forced conversion of all Jews 
in the kingdom. In 1694, the 17th Council of Toledo 
made all Spanish Jews slaves. In the period of Arabic 
rule (after 711 CE), the Jews of Spain fared better — 
scholarship and culture flourished. 

Beginning in 1478, in the reign of Ferdinand 
and Isabella, no less than 13,000 secret Jews 
(Conversos) were executed by the Inquisition. At 
the same time, the monarchs continued to employ 
Jewish functionaries — such as Don Isaac Abravanel 
— in their court. On March 31, 1492 the Edict of 
Expulsion was signed, resulting in 300,000 Sephardic 

54 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Jews leaving for refuge in North Africa, Turkey, etc. 

The last Jews left on August 2,1492, the day 
before Columbus sailed; that was also the traditional 
day of mourning (gth of Av) for the destruction of 
the First and Second Temples. This explains the first 
words Columbus wrote in his log: "After you expelled 
the Jews your majesties sent me with a fleet." 

The only known Jew on Columbus' voyage 
was Luis de Torres. Born Yosef ben HaLevi Halvri, 
he had to be baptized shortly before sailing. Torres 
knew Hebrew, Aramaic and some Arabic. 

Torres was the first European settler in the 
New World. He set up his own small empire in Cuba, 
after leading an expedition into its interior and 
winning the friendship of the Indian ruler. However, 
Luis de Torres died within a year. 

58 mm / J. Jenkins Sons 
350 Bronze / 120 Pure Silver / i2l0ktGold 


Paul Vincze was too ill to complete the models, and so Hal Reed finished them, based on Vincze's drawings. 

Here is a wax overlay before Reed inscribed the legend. 

Vincze's clay modeling in near finished stage. Note 
differences in final medal: astrolabe added below, 
swords held by Columbus andTorres eliminated, water 
slanted above, etc. 

Mel Wacks / 55 

JAHFS5 /1393 


1918 -1990 

Medalist: Marika Somogyi 

Obverse: Portrait, Leonard Bernstein (signature), 1918-1990, MHS monogram. 
Reverse: Bernstein presenting the Young People's Concert™. 

Leonard Bernstein was born in Lawrence, 
Massachusetts on August 25, 1918. When his aunt 
sent her upright piano to the Bernstein home, 10 year 
old Lenny looked at it, hit the key, cried "Ma, I want 
lessons," — and the rest is history. 

In 1943, Bernstein was appointed assistant 
conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra. 
A few months later — at the age of 25 — Lenny burst 
on the national music scene when he substituted at 
the last minute for an ailing conductor. His brilliant 
performance earned a tremendous ovation from the 
audience, and an enthusiastic review on the front 
page of The New York Times. 

Bernstein was named music director of the 
New York Philharmonic in 1958, becoming the first 
American-born person to head a top symphony 
orchestra. In his 11 years in this position, the New 
York Philharmonic enjoyed unparalleled success and 
prestige, and the orchestra's recordings became best 
sellers. His association with the Israel Philharmonic 
began shortly after the establishment of the Jewish 
State, when Bernstein conducted seven official 

56 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

concerts in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa. 

Bernstein's classical works include ballets 
(Fancy Free, Dybbuk), operas ( Trouble in Tahiti, A 
Quiet Place), and symphonies ( Jeremiah, The Age of 
Anxiety, Kaddish). Many regarded him as the potential 
savior of the American musical, because of shows 
like Wonderful Town, Candide, and West Side Story. 
Bernstein also wrote the score of the motion picture 
On the Waterfront. 

One of Leonard Bernstein's greatest 
achievements was bringing music to the masses 
via television, beginning in 1957, on the Omnibus 
program, and then as host of the New York 
Philharmonic's Emmy Award-winning Young People's 
Concerts™. One critic wrote: "Bernstein lured us onto 
the stage with him, holding us with his every word 
until, miraculously, we actually began to understand 
how music worked and what made it beautiful." 

Leonard Bernstein was widely regarded as 
the most gifted and versatile American musician of 
the 20th century. 

47 x45 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
650 Bronze / 192 Pure Silver / 2il0ktGold 


Marika Somogyi's drawings for the obverse. The close-up on the right was accepted. 

Ms. Somogyi made a number of changes from her original drawing for the reverse design — 
Bernstein was shown in profile, hair styles for the girls in the foreground were modified, and some 
of the youngsters in the audience were made to look more attentive. 

Mel Wacks / 57 

JAHFS6 /1994 


1910 -1892 

Medalist: Gerta Ries Wiener 

Obverse: Portrait, Human rights without distinction of sex, Gerta Wiener. 
Reverse: Rose presenting a lecture, Ernestine L Rose 1810-1892. 

Ernestine Louise Potowski was born in 1810, 
the daughter of the village's rabbi, in the ghetto of 
Piotrkov, Poland. She rejected an arranged marriage 
at 16, and left her home within a year, traveling at 
first to Germany, then Holland, and finally settling 
in England. There she began her career as a public 
speaker in behalf of social reform, that was to lead 
to her nickname, "Queen of the Platform." Ernestine 
married William Rose in 1836, and they emigrated to 
New York. 

The Roses soon opened a small "Fancy and 
Perfumery" store in their home, where Rose sold her 
perfumed toilet water and William ran a silversmith 

After Ernestine Rose spoke against slavery in 
South Carolina in 1847, she was threatened with being 
tarred and feathered. But she did much more than 
lecture. By petitioning the New York State Assembly 
for 12 years, Ms. Rose led a successful campaign for 
the passage of the Married Woman's Property Bill in 
1848, that allowed a woman to control her own assets 
after she was married. 

58 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

At the first National Woman's Rights 
Convention, held in October of 1850 in Worcester, 
Massachusetts, Ernestine spoke with "graceful style 
of eloquence," asking in part, "We have heard a great 
deal of our Pilgrim Fathers but who has heard of the 
Pilgrim Mothers. Did they not endure as many perils, 
encounter as many hardships?" 

When Susan B. Anthony listed the main 
causes that led to the formation of the woman's 
rights movement in America, the educational work 
of Ernestine Rose was given prominence. And 
when one newspaper omitted Ernestine from a list 
that included Susan B. Anthony, Lucy Stone, and 
other "gifted women," an editorial in the Boston 
Investigator proclaimed that "to omit her name is 
like playing Hamlet with the character of Hamlet left 

In a letter written in 1887, Ms. Rose summed 
up her life: "For over 50 years I have endeavored to 
promote the rights of humanity without distinction 
of sex, sect, party, country or color." 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
265 Bronze / 80 Pure Silver / ulOktGold 


Gerta Ries 



sketches for the 
Ernestine Rose 

Ms. Wiener 
was not totally 
happy with 
the way the 
Ernestine Rose 
medal turned 
out, as she told 
Wacks in this 

Mel Wacks / 59 

JAHF27 /1995 


1929 - 2016 

Medalist: Obverse byAlex Shagin, reverse by Mel Wacks 
Obverse: Portrait, Elie Wiesel (signature), A. Shagin # i995». 

'Elie Wiesel was born on September 30, 1928 in 
Sighet, a small town in Romania. His grandfather 
told the young Elie Hasidic tales, which later inspired 
Wiesel's writings. In 1944, the Nazis deported all of 
Sighet's 15,000 Jews to the Auschwitz concentration 
camp. Wiesel's mother and younger sister died in the 
gas chambers, and his father died later on a forced 
march to Buchenwald. 

In 1957, Wiesel joined the staff of the Jewish 
Daily Forward, a Yiddish-language newspaper in 
New York. He became a United States citizen in 1963. 
Not until 10 years after his release from Buchenwald, 
did Elie Wiesel begin writing about the Holocaust. 
His first biographical book And the World Remained 
Silent appeared in Yiddish, and four years later it 
was published in English as the novel Night. This was 
followed by over two dozen semi-autobiographical 
novels, plays and essays, all bearing witness to the 

From 1972 to 1976, Wiesel was Distinguished 
Professor of Judaic Studies at City College of New 

York, and then he was appointed Andrew Mellon 
Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Boston 
University. In 1978, Elie Wiesel was named chairman 
of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, 
created by President Jimmy Carter, which eventually 
led to the building of the Holocaust Museum in 
Washington, D.C. He has been the recipient of 
numerous literary and humanitarian awards, as well 
as being awarded honorary degrees from more than 
30 institutions. 

When presenting Elie Wiesel with the 
Nobel Peace Prize in 1986, Egil Aavik said "Wiesel 
is a messenger to mankind. His message is one of 
peace, atonement, and human dignity. Wiesel's 
commitment, which originated in the suffering of 
the Jewish people, has been widened to embrace 
all oppressed peoples and races." In his acceptance 
speech, Professor Wiesel commented, "I have tried 
to keep memory alive. I have tried to fight those who 
would forget. Because if we forget, we are guilty, we 
are all accomplices." 

60 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
200 Bronze / 75 Pure Silver / 12 Cast lOkt Gold 


Elie Wiesel is one of only a handful of living 
persons inducted into the Jewish-American 

Hall of Fame. 

Boston University 

University Professors 
745 Commonwealth Avenue 
Boston, Massachusetts 02215 

Elie Wiesel, Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities 

May 13, 1994 

Mel Wacks, Director 
Jewish-American Hall of Fame 
Judah Magnes Museum 
2911 Russell Street 
Berkeley, CA 94705 

Dear Mr. Wacks: 

Thanks for the honor for which you 
have chosen me. I appreciate the warmth of 
your words. 

As for a photograph, perhaps Mr. 
Shagin would be interested in the one that 
appeared on the cover of THE NEW YORK TIMES 
MAGAZINE (October 23, 1983). I enclose a 


Elie Wiesel 



An early proposal by Mel Wacks, for the reverse design, was based on a small 
boy in a famous photograph, taken of a group of Jews being removed from 
the Warsaw Ghetto by German soldiers on April 19,1943. 

Mel Wacks/61 

JAHFS8 /1396 


1874 -1926 

Upper Half Medalist: Hal Reed 

Obverse: Portrait, Houdini (signature), HR monogram. 

Reverse: Children in scary Halloween scene. 


Lower Half Medalist: Hal Reed, obverse 
concept by Mel Wacks 

Note thatthe struck medals fit precisely together, 
while the cast gold medal is a single piece with 
portrait obverse and HOUDINI reverse. 

62 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
225 Bronze / 85 Pure Silver / 7 Cast lOkt Gold 

In 2001, additional medals were produced as follows: 

8 bronze (edge: MAGNES), 
36 bronze (edge: 75TH ANNIVERSARY 1926-2001); 

5 pure silver (edge: MAGNES), 
6 pure silver (edge: JEWISH-AMERICAN HALL OF FAME), 
14 pure silver (edge: 75TH ANNIVERSARY 1926-2001); 

3 cast lokt gold (edge: MAGNES), 
4 cast lokt gold (edge: JEWISH-AMERICAN HALL OF FAME), 
2 cast lokt gold (edge: 75TH ANNIVERSARY 1926-2001) 

Houdini was born Ehrich Weiss on March 24, 
1874 in Budapest, Hungary. His family emigrated to 
the United States while he wasan infant, and hisfather 
became the first rabbi in Appleton, Wisconsin. They 
later moved to Milwaukee, and eventually settled in 
New York. Young Ehrich's life was transformed after 
he learned his first trick (the vanishing quarter). At 
the age of 17, he changed his name to Harry Houdini 
and began performing in medicine shows, circuses, 
theaters, etc. 

When 100,000 people watched "The King of 
Handcuffs" wriggle free while hanging from a building 
in 1916, a newspaper reported that this was "the 
biggest crowd ever assembled in Washington at one 
place except for the inauguration of the President." 
One of Houdini's most spectacular illusions was 
the "Vanishing Elephant," in which the pachyderm 
lumbered on to the stage and walked straight into a 
large cabinet. Almost simultaneously the cabinet's 
walls would be pulled back and the elephant had 
disappeared. Houdini said "Even the elephant does 
not know how it is done." 

Four years after the Wright Brothers flew 
the first practical airplane, Houdini bought a French 
Voisin biplane and made his first flight. Just five 

months later, on March 16,1910, he became the first 
person to make a controlled, powered flight of an 
airplane in Australia. 

Houdini was also a motion picture star, 
making his first appearance in 1918 in a serial 
The Mastery Mystery. Soon he set up the Houdini 
Picture Corporation where he wrote and starred 
in The Man from Beyond and Haldane of the Secret 
Service. On October 31, 1975 Houdini's pioneering 
accomplishments earned him a star on the Hollywood 
Walk of Fame. 

Houdini was in his dressing room at the 
Princess Theater in Montreal on October 22, 1926 
when a student asked if it was true that Houdini could 
sustain punches to his midsection without injury. The 
visitor struck him immediately, not realizing that 
Houdini had to brace himself. Even though Houdini 
had stomach pain, he boarded the train for his next 
appearance in Detroit. Collapsing after the final 
curtain, Houdini was taken to the hospital, where his 
ruptured appendix was removed. But it was too late, 
and he passed away on October 31 — Halloween. At 
his funeral, Rabbi Bernard Drachman called Houdini 
"one of the truly great men of the age." 

The interior designs of the Houdini double medal were adapted from a model made by Hal Reed years earlier, 
for a medal that was never produced. The HOLLOWEEN'N (sic) inscription was removed so that the positive 
and negative designs could fit together, and the dragon on the left was replaced by a witch. 


JAHFS9 /1997 


B. 1942 

Medalist: Alex Shagin 
Obverse: Portrait, *A»Shagiri97. 

Reverse: Barbra at Central Park Concert, Barbra Streisand (signature). 

Barbra Streisand is a legend. She is the 
only artist ever to have earned Oscar, Tony, Emmy, 
Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, and Peabody 
Awards! She won the 1968 Academy Award for Best 
Actress in her motion picture debut (Funny Girl), and 
was awarded her second Oscar in 1976 for composing 
the song Evergreen for her hit film, A Star is Born, she 
was awarded a special Tony as "Star of the Decade," 
and 10Golden Globesforacting, directing, producing, 
songwriting, and as "World Film Favorite." Barbra has 
achieved more gold (37), platinum (21), and multi¬ 
platinum (10) albums than any other artist. 

The Streisand Foundation, which she has 
funded since 1986, has made grants totaling nearly 
10 million dollars to American organizations that 
promote and support civil rights and race relations, 

environmental issues, youth-related issues focusing 
on the economically disadvantaged, and AIDS 
research. She donated her former 24 acre Malibu 
Estate to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, 
where it has been dedicated as a center of ecological 

In 1983, Barbra produced, co-wrote the 
screenplay, directed and starred in the motion 
picture Yentl. Her film company produced a series 
of six television dramas paying tribute to non-Jews 
who heroically saved Jews from the Holocaust. And 
Ms. Streisand was named as honorary chairwoman 
of the board of directors of Hadassah's International 
Research Institute on Women when it was established 
in 1997. 

64 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
475 Bronze / 225 Pure Silver / 16 Cast lOkt Gold 


Streisand model in clay, before the 
final refinements. 


JAHF30 /1998 



1845 -1912 1846 -1912 1891 -1971 


Medalist: Alex Shagin, from a concept by Mel Wacks 

Obverse: Portraits of Isidor & Ida Straus, and David Sarnoff, ISIDOR & IDA STRAUSS, David 
Sarnoff (signature). 

Reverse: Titanic sinking and survivors in lifeboat, M. WACKS A. SHAGIN. 

When the "unsinkable" Titanic sank on its 
maiden voyage, 1,513 lives were lost. Especially hard- 
hit were the men in First and Second Class and all 
Third Class passengers. 

Born in Bavaria in 1845, Isidor Straus came 
to the United States at the age of 9, residing first in 
Georgia and then in New York City. Together with his 
brother Nathan, Isidor started to sell glassware and 
china in R. H. Macy's in 1873. By 1896, the enterprise 
was so successful that the Strauses purchased the 
entire store, helping to build what is now one of the 
largest store chains in the world. 

Isidor Straus was a trusted advisorto President 
Grover Cleveland, and he served briefly in Congress. 
Isidor was also a founder of an endowment fund for 
the Jewish Theological Seminary. 

As the Titanic was sinking, 67-year-old Isidor 
was told that he would be allowed to depart with the 
women and children. But he firmly refused any special 
treatment, saying he would enter a lifeboat only 
with the other men. He urged his wife Ida to board 

66 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

a lifeboat, but she also declined, reportedly saying, 
"We have been living together for many years, and 
where you go, I go." Mrs. Straus' loyalty and fidelity 
to her husband, struck a chord with people around the 
world, Rabbis spoke to their congregations about her 
sacrifice, articles in Yiddish and German-language 
newspapers extolled her courage, and a popular 
song featuring the story of Ida Straus, The Titanic's 
Disaster, became popular among Jewish-Americans. 
Over 40,000 people attended the couple's memorial 

Following the Titanic disaster, young 21 year- 
old David Sarnoff remained glued to his wireless 
earphones in New York for 72 hours straight, and was 
one of the first to relay the names of the survivors 
from the Carpathia's telegraph operator to newsmen 
and frantic family members. 

Born in 1891, in a shtetl near Minsk, Sarnoff 
came to America at the age of 9. His father died when 
David was only 15, so he left school, taught himself 

Morse Code, and the rest is history. 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 

450 Bronze / 280 Pure Silver / 40 Cast lOkt Gold 

In the year 1915, David Sarnoff conceived of 
the idea that radios could "bring music into homes 
by wireless," but his memo to his superiors at the 
Marconi Company was dismissed as a wild scheme. 

When he joined RCA in 1920, they agreed to 
develop his concept. Just three years later, Sarnoff 
wrote, "I believe that television will come to pass in 

due course," and at the 1939 New York World's Fair he 
proudly showed off the latest electronic marvel. Five 
years later, President Roosevelt appointed Sarnoff as 
a Brigadier General, and the Television Broadcasters 
Association conferred upon him the title "Father of 
American Television." 


V Tapis? wo njn f 

Witanic’s Disaster. 



pianojfO / 



The portrayal of Ida and Isidor 
Straus on the medal was inspired 
by their portraits on this sheet 
music, published soon after the 

-£ o ? ‘ 

\ cl w-c 

Concept sketches by Mel Wacks. 


JAHF31 /1399 





Upper Half Medalist: Alex Shagin, reverse concept by Mel Wacks 

Obverse: Asser Levy in foreground, Jewish immigrants arriving from St. Catherine ship, ASSER 

Lower Half Medalist: Alex Shagin 


Reverse: Interior of Crosby Street Synagogue. 

Note that the struck medals fit precisely together, while the cast gold medal is a single piece with 
Levy on obverse and "THEY CAN REST ..." on the reverse. 

68 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
150 Bronze / 65 Pure Silver / 14 Cast lOkt Gold 

Jews were initially denied the distinction of 
serving in the militia because of the "disinclination 
and unwillingness of fellow soldiers to be on guard 
with said nation." Instead, Jews were required to pay 
an insulting tax. Asser Levy, one of the first Jewish 
settlers, fought and won the rightto participate in the 
citizens' guards in November 1655. After Levy also 
won the right to carry on trade in the community, he 
built a prosperous business in real estate and opened 
a Kosher butcher shop — becoming one of the most 
prominent New Yorkers of the 17th century. 

Probably in deference to Stuyvesant, the 
Jews were not permitted to build a synagogue. 
However, this situation changed after the surrender 
of New Amsterdam to the British in 1664. While 
there is some evidence that services were held in a 
private home as early as 1695, the first congregation 
— Shearith Israel — was organized around 1706. Circa 
1730, they erected a small synagogue on Mill Lane, 
which is pictured on this medal. At this time there 

were only about 30 Jewish households in New York 

The synagogue wasexpanded and rededicated 
in 1818, when Mordecai Manuel Noah delivered a 
speech in which he proclaimed that "Until the Jews 
can recover their ancient rights and dominions, and 
take their rank among the governments of the earth, 
this is their chosen country; here they can rest with 
the persecuted from every clime, protected from 
tyranny and oppression, and participating of equal 
rights and immunities." An excerpt from this speech 
is featured on this medal, with the encrypted name of 

When the congregation outgrew its Mill 
Lane building, they moved uptown and built a new 
synagogue on Crosby Street, which they occupied 
from 1834 to i860; its interior is shown on this medal. 
Historic remnants of the first synagogue can still be 
seen in Shearith Israel's current building on West 70th 


Alex Shagin's preliminary sketches for medal 
designs, that were not used. 


JAHF32 / 2000 


1915 - 2005 

Medalist: Marika Somogyi 

Obverse: Portrait, Arthur Miller (signature). 

Reverse: Salesman, ATTENTION MUST BE PAID, MHS monogram. 

Arthur Aster Miller was born in New York City 
on October 17,1915. After his father's business failed, 
Miller graduated from a Brooklyn high school, and then 
dropped out from City College after just two weeks. 
In the depths of the Depression he took various jobs, 
including singing on a local radio station, and truck 
driving. From 1932-34, Miller clerked in an auto parts 
warehouse, where he was the only Jew employed. 
There, he had his first real, personal experiences of 
American anti-Semitism. 

With the money he earned, Arthur Miller 
enrolled in the University of Michigan, graduating 
in 1938. While still an undergraduate, he wrote No 
Villain in six days, and received the Hopwood Award in 

During World War II he wrote radio plays and 
worked as a shipfitter's helper at the Brooklyn Navy 
Yard. In 1944, Miller's first Broadway show The Man 
Who HadAllThe Luck dosed afterjust six performances, 
but it received the Theater Guild National Award. 
Three years later, All My Sons premiered and received 
the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award. 

Miller's masterpiece, Death of a Salesman, 
premiered in 1949 and received the Pulitzer Prize, the 
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award, the Antoinette 

70 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Perry ("Tony") Award, the Donaldson Award, and 
the Theater Club Award, among others. In 1953, The 
Crucible opened, receiving the Tony and Donaldson 
Awards. The tale of the Salem Witch Trials was a 
poignant allegory for the McCarthy hearings that 
were then taking place. Prophetically, just a few years 
later, Miller was convicted of contempt of Congress for 
refusing to name people he had seen 10 years earlier 
at an alleged Communist writers' meeting. Miller 
appealed, and the United States Court of Appeals 
overturned his conviction. 

The motion picture that he wrote for then wife 
Marilyn Monroe, Misfits, premiered in 1961. After 
visiting the Mauthausen death camp in 1964, Miller 
covered the Nazi trials in Frankfurt, Germany for the 
New York Herald Tribune. His anti-Fascist play Incident 
at Vichy premiered two years later. Arthur Miller's 
autobiography Time-bends was published in 1987. 

Miller served as President of International 

P.E.N. (Poets, Essayists and Novelists) from 1965 to 

1969, where he strove vigorously to organize protests 

against literary censorship and repression around the 

world. As a consequence, Miller's works were banned 

in the Soviet Union. , .. , . 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 

165 Bronze / 65 Pure Silver / 13 Cast lOkt Gold 


Marika Somogyi's sketches for 
the Arthur Miller medal. 

Mel Wacks /71 

JAHF33 / 2001 


1924 - 2014 


Medalist: Alex Shagin 


Reverse: Bess as Miss America, BESS MYERSON. 

Bess Myerson was the first (and, so far, only) 
Jewish Miss America. She went on to become a 
populartelevision personality, a public servant, and a 

Bess encountered anti-Semitism during 
the Miss America Pageant, when an official tried to 
convince her to change her name to one that was 
less ethnic, suggesting Betty Merrick. Bess refused. 
The dark haired statuesque (she was the tallest 
contestant at 5' 10") beauty was the first recipient 
of a scholarship, but none of the pageant's sponsors, 
including Catalina Swimsuits — chose to use the 
Jewish beauty from the Bronx as a spokesperson. 
During her year as Miss America, Ms. Myerson made 
many personal appearances. One of these was 
scheduled at an antebellum country club, but just 
before the event she was told that there had been a 
terrible mistake, the country club was restricted, and 
no Jewish person could possibly be welcomed there. 

Bess Myerson, determined to fight racial 
bigotry, traveled around the country speaking in 
behalf of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai 

72 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

B'rith, in cooperation with the NAACP and the Urban 

Many Americans remember Ms. Myerson 
as Mistress of Ceremonies for The Big Payoff (1951- 
9) and as a panelist on I've Got A Secret (1958-67). 
From 1969-73 as Commissioner of Consumer Affairs 
of New York City, Myerson was architect of the most 
far-reaching consumer protection legislation in the 
country at that time, and was featured on the cover 
of Life Magazine (July 16, 1971) as "A Consumer's 
Best Friend ... Bess Myerson on the prowl for stores 
that cheat us." 

From 1983-7 she served under Mayor Ed Koch 
as Commissioner of Cultural Affairs, where Bess 
substantially broadened financial support for New 
York City's art community. 

Ms. Myerson is a Founder of The Museum of 
Jewish Heritage in New York, where she established 
the Bess Myerson Film and Video Collection with a 
grant of over a million dollars. She has also made 
six-figure contributions to The Guild for the Blind, 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
150 Bronze / 65 Pure Silver / 13 Cast lOkt Gold 

Hebrew University (for Cancer Research), and SHARE (to launch 
an Ovarian Cancer Program). Her concern over the rising racial and 
religious tensions on college campuses led Bess to endow the Bess 
Myerson Campus Journalism Awards given annually by the Anti- 
Defamation League. 

Bess Myerson's presidential appointments include Lyndon 
Johnson's White House Conference on Violence and Crime, Gerald 
Ford's Commission on the National Center for Productivity and 
Quality of Working Life, and Jimmy Carter's Commissionson Mental 
Health and on World Hunger. She has also served on the boards of 
the International Rescue Committee, the Consumers Union, Another 
Mother for Peace, etc. Hunter College, where she graduated with a 
music degree in the same year that she was crowned Miss America, 
later presented Ms. Myerson with an honorary doctorate, as did 
Long Island University and Seton Hall. 


Alex Shagin's original 
sketch of Ms. Myerson, 
and an early proposed 
reverse design. 

Mel Wacks / 73 

JAHF34 / 2002 


1838 -1909 

Medalist: Alex Shagin 

Obverse: Portrait of Karpeles as a flag-bearer, LEOPOLD KARPELES 1838-1909, A»SHAGIN. 
Reverse: Lincoln's letter and a tallit (prayer shawl), thank you heartily for your prayers ... A. 

Leopold Karpeles, born in Prague, Bohemia in 
1838, emigrated to Galveston, Texas at the age of 11. 
He became an expert rider, and eventually one of the 
youngest members of the Texas Rangers. Leopold 
was outspoken about his anti-slavery views, and so 
he moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, where he 
subsequently enlisted in the Union Army as a flag- 

Color Sergeant Leopold Karpeles was 
instrumental in turning the tide of the May 
1864 Wilderness Campaign, that saw his 57th 
Massachusetts Regiment suffer among the highest 
casualties. Some historians consider this Civil War 
battle as the turning point, when the North began 
its slow march toward victory. Karpeles' bravery 
is described in the hero's own words: "I marched in 
an inspired manner with my flag waving proudly ... 
providing courage for my comrades. I'm also a prime 
target for the enemy. My dedication to my country's 
flag rests on my ardent belief in this noblest of causes, 
equality for all." 

While hospitalized with nearly total paralysis, 

74 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

in Washington, D.C. in the Spring of 1864, Karpeles 
was ministered to by a young volunteer — Sara 
Mundheim, daughter of the local rabbi —whom he 
later married. Once his health improved, Karpeles 
was appointed to the Commerce and Post Office 

He was a major figure in the Grand Army of 
the Republic, which supported veteran causes, and 
was one of the six founders of the Medal of Honor 

Leopold Karpeles died in February, 1909 
and was buried in the cemetery of the Hebrew 
Congregation in Washington, D.C. His tombstone is 
unique, with a replica of the Congressional Medal of 
Honor emblazoned on its granite surface. 

The Karpeles medal's reverse features an 
excerpt of a letter, in Lincoln's own handwriting, 
written on May 13, 1862 acknowledging the prayers 
of the Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia for 
the Union cause. Alongside is a tallit (four cornered 
fringed Jewish prayer shawl). 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
150 Bronze / 65 Pure Silver / 13 Cast lOkt Gold 


Alex Shagin's initial sketch for the obverse of the Leopold Karpeles medal, and his 
revised sketch. 

Shagin initially had the tallit in a different position. The possibility of including a Lincoln 

medal in the design was later rejected. 

Mel Wacks / 75 

JAHF35 / 2003-4 


1850 -1924 

1887 -1946 

cONDrriaiM and for 




<V£ HAVE* 


Medalist: Karen Worth 

Obverse: Portraits, SAMUEL GOMPERS • Samuel Gompers (signature) • 1850-1924, SIDNEY 
HILLMAN • Sidney Hillman (signature) • 1887-1946, eagle emblem of the National Recovery Act. 
Reverse: Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America union members on strike, WE SHALL 

Samuel Gompers (1850-1924) was born in 
London on January 27, 1850, after his parents had 
emigrated from Holland. He left school at the age 
of 11 to become an apprentice to a cigar maker, his 
father's occupation. In 1863, his family moved to New 
York. Within a year, young Samuel had joined Local 15 
of the United Cigar Makers Union, and he eventually 
rose to Second Vice President. 

Gompers was a founder of the American 
Federation of Labor (AF of L), and served as its 
president for every year but one during his lifetime. 
During World War I, Gompers was appointed by 
President Wilson to the advisory committee of the 
National Council of Defense. Following the war, he 
led the United States delegation to the International 
Labor Organization. 

Sidney Hillman (1887-1946), a 20 year old 
former rabbinical student from Lithuania, was among 
the 100,000 Eastern European Jews who immigrated 
to America in 1907. Hillman became an apprentice 
cutter in a Chicago garment factory, working long 
hours under brutal conditions. 

76 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

In 1910, Hillman helped settle a major strike, 
gaining union recognition and agreement to settle 
future disputes by arbitration. 

During the Depression, Sidney Hillman was 
named to the Labor Advisory Board of the National 
Recovery Administration, and helped draft the Fair 
Labor Standards Act. In 1937, Hillman was a founder 
and first Vice President of the Congress of Industrial 
Organizations (CIO). President Roosevelt declared 
that Hillman, more than any other man, helped to win 
passage of the national minimum wage law of 1938. 

The medal's reverse dramatically portrays 
the September 1915 strike by 25,000 members of 
the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America. 
Union President, Sidney Hillman declared that: "All 
we want is to be recognized as human beings and 
not machines." Sixty percent of the workers were 
young women, including Hillman's future wife Bessie 
Abramowitz, who also became an important labor 
leader. They worked up to 20 hours in a day for as little 
as $1.25. 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
125 Bronze / 50 Pure Silver 


Karen Worth submitted several sketches for the obverse design, and the one on the right was chosen. The 
NRA (National Recovery Association) emblem was moved on the final design. 

Worth's original concept for the reverse design was 
accepted, with the addition of a few men and the 
deletion of the exergue inscription. 

Mel Wacks / 77 

JAHF36 / 2005 


1917 - 2007 

Medalist: Jim Licaretz 

Obverse: Portrait, Robert'Rosie' Rosenthal. 

Reverse: Crew of "Rosie's Riveter's," JL (monogram). 

The day after Pearl Harbor was attacked, 
Robert "Rosie" Rosenthal enlisted in the U.S. Army. 
In August 1943, he joined the 418th Squadron of 
the "Bloody" 100th Bombardment Group, stationed 
in England. Thirteen B-17S took off for a bombing 
mission over Munster, but only one returned — aptly 
named "Rosie's Riveters" — full of holes and flying on 
two engines. But in spite of the intercom being out, 

the oxygen system 

shot-up and a large 
ragged hole in the 
skin ofthe right wing, 
they had successfully 
dropped their bombs 
over the target. 

In March 

of 1944, Rosie's 

Riveters completed 
its 25th mission, 

which completed 
their military service. 
But Rosie reenlisted, 

78 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

saying "I had to do what I could for as long as I was 
able." This was in spite ofthe factthat 15 missions was 
the average life of a bomber crew. Later, Rosenthal 
was made head of the 350th Squadron after the 
commanding officer was shot down. Intelligence 
Officer Marvin Bowman found Rosenthal "one of 
the great figures ofthe Air Force; a shy, modest, and 
patriotic gentleman of truly amazing courage and 

When Rosenthal's plane went down over 
Germany in September, he broke his arm and nose — 
but luckily was rescued by the Free French, to whom 
he had dropped supplies only a few weeks before. 
As soon as his arm had healed, Rosie returned to his 
original (418th) Squadron, and was chosen to lead a 
mission to Berlin on February 3,1945. 

Even after a direct flak hit put an engine 
on fire, his blazing Fortress still managed to drop 
its bombs on the targeted Erkner factory before 
Rosenthal gave the signal to "Abandon ship." The 
rest ofthe crew parachuted and, after their B-17 had 

49 x47 mm / Highland Mint 
235 Bronze / 58 Pure Silver / 25 Gold-Plated Silver 

descended to about i,ooo feet, Rosenthal was the 
last to leave with the ground dangerously close, just 
before the ship exploded. Fortunately, he was found 
by Russians, who embraced him and took him to a 
hospital. This was his 52nd mission; there was to be 
just one more. Rosie flew his last mission after VE 
Day, to free prisoners from concentration camps. 

Robert "Rosie" Rosenthal was one of the most 
decorated pilots in the Eighth Air Force. He received 
16 decorations, including the Distinguished Service 
Cross for "extraordinary heroism in connection 
with military operations against the enemy," the 

Silver Star (with cluster) for "gallantry in action," the 
Distinguished Flying Cross (with cluster) for "heroism 
or extraordinary achievement during aerial flight," 
the Air Medal (with seven clusters), the Purple Heart 
(with cluster), plus the British Distinguished Flying 
Cross and the French Croix de Guerre. 

Shortly after VE Day, Rosenthal was back 
in Germany as an assistant to the United States 
Prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials where, among 
other things, he interrogated Nazi leader Hermann 


The medal's design is based on a painting by Gil Cohen (shown 
here with Rosie), depicting "Rosie" briefing his 418th Squadron 
crew in 1943 on last minute details before they board their 
B-17, aptly called "Rosie's Riveters," at Thorpe Abbotts, East 
Anglia, England, home base of the 100th Bomb Group. Shown 
are (left to right): Waste Gunner S/Sgt. Loren Darling, Pilot 1st 
Lt. Robert Rosenthal, Radio OperatorT/Sgt. Michael Boccuzzi, 
and Waist Gunner S/Sgt. James Mack. 

Mel Wacks / 79 

JAHF37 / 2006 


1902 -1972 

Medalist: Eugene Daub 

Obverse: Portrait, MORRIS "MOE" BERG 1902-1972. 
Reverse: Moe as catcher, Moe Berg (signature), DAUB. 

Morris "Moe" Berg was born in New York 
City on March 2, 1902. He was fortunate enough to 
grow up and do two things in life he really enjoyed 
— playing baseball and being an intelligence officer! 
Moe majored in modern languages at Princeton 
University, where he played on a championship 
baseball team. After graduating in 1923, he played 
for the Brooklyn Dodgers as a first baseman. Later, 
while attending Columbia Law School, Berg joined 
the Chicago White Sox, initially as shortstop but later 
as catcher. 

Berg was admitted to the New York State bar 
in 1928. Even after joining a prestigious law firm, he 
kept playing forthe White Sox. But one day, Berg was 
injured when he tore ligaments in his right knee. In 
1931, the Sox traded Berg to the Cleveland Indians, 
and later he was traded to the Washington Senators. 
He was a member of the Senators' pennant-winning 
team in 1933, and set an American League record by 
catching in 117 consecutive games from 1931-1934 
without making an error. However, Casey Stengel 
is reported to have said that "Berg could speak in 8 

80 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

languages, but couldn't hit in any of them." 

Because Moe was a baseball player with an 
unusual list of talents, he was always being invited to 
embassy dinnersand parties—and soon became very 
well known in the Capitol. In 1934, Moe Berg, along 
with players including Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, 
toured Japan with an American all-star baseball team. 
The government asked him to make some films of 
Tokyo Harbor and some military installations while 
he was there, giving Moe his first taste of intelligence 
gathering — and he was hooked! 

In 1938, Berg appeared on the radio quiz show 
Information, Please! It was these appearances that 
really made him nationally known. He was dazzling, 
and NBC received as many as 24,000 letters calling 
for his return. He would appear twice more. 

The last baseball team Moe played for was 
the Boston Red Sox, where he later coached until 
1941. Moe Berg got his chance to contribute more to 
his country when he was asked to tour Latin America 
for the Office of Coordinator of Inter-American 

49 x47 mm / Highland Mint 
275 Bronze / 105 Pure Silver / 47 Gold-Plated Silver 

Affairs, an agency set up to counter German, Italian 
and Japanese propaganda in Latin America. His 
natural ability in languages helped Moe to meet 
government officials, journalists, and businessmen 
— and he reported much useful information to the 
agency's head, Nelson Rockefeller. Moe Berg's really 
big break came in 1943 when he was recruited into the 
Office of Strategic Services as a civilian employee. His 
first assignment was a secret mission to Yugoslavia to 
assess the strength of the two rival leaders there — 
Draza Mihajlovic and Joseph Broz Tito. He correctly 
reported that Tito was stronger. 

General William Donovan, the head of the OSS, 
placed Berg on the AZUSA project. This project 
looked at the enemy's progress in developing nuclear 
weapons. Berg interviewed scientists in Rome two 
days after the city was liberated by U.S. troops, 
to see how far the Italians had progressed in their 
research. He also entered German-occupied Norway 
as part of an Allied effort to find and destroy a heavy- 
water plant. In Switzerland, Berg found out from a 
visiting German scientist not only how far along the 
Germans were in developing their weapons of mass 

destruction, but also the location of the German 
scientists. This information came in handy after 
the fall of Germany, when Allied forces found the 
scientists and took them to England before Soviet 
forces could find them. 

After the OSS was dissolved in 1945, Moe Berg 
served on the staff of NATO's Advisory Group for 
Aeronautical Research and Development. He was 
awarded the Medal 
of Freedom by the 
United States in 
1946, but modesty 
led him to return it. 

Moe Berg may not 
be in the Baseball 
Hall of Fame, but he 
is the only baseball 
player honored by 
both the CIA Hall 
of Fame and the 
International Spy 


Eugene Daub 
made several 
sketches before 
the final designs 
were chosen. 


JAHF38 / 2007 



Medalist: Virginia Janssen 
Obverse: Portrait, LILLIAN WALD 1867-1940. 
Reverse: Wald with family, She reacheth forth 

Lillian Wald was one of the most influential 
women in the 19th century. She became a legend 
to the hundreds of thousands of Jewish immigrants 
who streamed to the shores of the United States in 
the late 1890's and early 1900's. 

She wanted to enter Medical School, but 
instead enrolled at New York Hospital's School of 
Nursing. Later, Ms. Wald recruited another nurse, 
Mary Brewster, and they made themselves available 
to anyone who needed help. They charged very little 
for their services and gave freely to those who could 
not afford to pay. Many times they would spend the 
night with a sick patient, and they would often fetch 
surgeons to come when a patient was too ill to be 

In 1893, Wald and Brewster created the Henry 
Street Visiting Nurse Service, which became the 
major model for visiting nursing in the United States. 
Their headquarters at 265 Henry Street became the 
Henry Street Settlement House. In 1898, they had a 
staff of eleven full time workers, nine of them nurses, 
and by 1916 there were more than one hundred 

82 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 


her hands to the needy, PROVERBS 31:20, 

Lillian Wald persuaded the city to begin a 
program of public nursing, that included putting 
nurses into the public schools. She spoke out against 
the popular movement to restrict the immigrants, 
viewing the immigrants' culture as a valuable 
contribution to the American way of life. Ms. Wald 
was appointed to several government committees, 
and also found time to help found the National 
Association for the Advancement of Colored People. 
She labored for better conditions for pregnant 
workers and to abolish child labor. 

The Henry Street Settlement still stands 
on New York's Lower East Side, now serving the 
neighborhood's Asian, African-American, and Latino 
population. And today, with over 9,500 highly skilled 
care providers, the Visiting Nurse Service of New York 
is the largest not-for-profit home health care agency 
in the nation, making over two million professional 
home visits to more than 100,000 patients each year. 

In a speech to Vassar students on October 12, 
1915, Ms. Wald quoted from Proverbs 31:20, "She 
reacheth forth her hands to the needy," and these 
words are inscribed on her medal. 

49 x47 mm / Highland Mint 
220 Bronze / 60 Pure Silver / 20 Gold-Plated Silver 


Virginia Janssen tried several different 
styles and locations for the inscription on 
the medal's reverse. 


JAHF39 / 2008 


1908 - 2002 

Medalist: Eugene Daub 

Obverse: Portrait, There's just one place for me NearYou! E. DAUB. 

Reverse: Family watching television, Milton Berle 1908-2002, DAUB '07. 

Milton Berlinger was born in New York City 
on July 12, 1908, His onstage antics got underway 
in 1913 when he won a look-alike contest with his 
impersonation of Charlie Chaplin. Berle appeared as 
a child actor in silent films, beginning with The Perils 
of Pauline (1914). 

In 1942, Milton Berle accepted an offer to 
star in the Ziegfeld Follies on Broadway — and the 
producers agreed to put his name above the title of 
the show. This was a huge concession, and Berle says 
it's the only time in the history of the Follies that a 
performer saw his name above the title! The Ziegfeld 
Follies opened on April 1, 1943, and ran for 553 
performances. Berle also found the time to squeeze 
in camp shows forthe GIs, benefits for the Red Cross, 
appearances to help sell war bonds, and broadcasts 
for Armed Forces Radio. 

In hisfirstfourseasonsontheair, Berle reigned 
as "Mr. Television," and was fondly called "Uncle 
Miltie." In May 1949, he became the first comedian 
to appear simultaneously on the covers of Time and 
Newsweek. In 1948, Milton Berle received one of the 

84 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

first Emmy Awards ever given for starring in NBC's 
Texaco Star Theater. He also was the first person to 
be inducted into the Television Hall of Fame (1984), 
and the first inductee into the Comedy Hall of Fame 

Milton Berle was also a songwriter and author, 
and appeared in dozens of motion pictures and 
television shows. He received an Emmy Nomination 
for his lead role in Doyle Against The Flouse on The 
Dick Powell Show in 1961. 

Berle was named to the Guinness Book of 
World Records for the greatest number of charity 
performances made by a show-business performer 
over a period of 50 years. And he received an award 
for entertaining at stateside military bases in World 
War I as a child performer, in addition to traveling to 
foreign bases in World War II and Vietnam. The first 
charity telethon (forthe Damon Runyan Cancer Fund) 
was hosted by Berle in 1949. A permanent fixture at 
charity benefits in the Hollywood/Los Angeles area, 
Milton Berle was instrumental in raising millions for 
charitable causes. 

49 x47 mm / Highland Mint 
135 Bronze / 60 Pure Silver / 18 Gold-Plated Silver 



JAHF40 / 2009 

40 th anniversary of the jewish-american 



B. 1938 

Medalist: Obverse by Eugene Daub, reverse by Mel Wacks 

Obverse: Portrait, MEL WACKS SEVENTY YEARS 2008 5768, EUGENE DAUB. 


Jewish-American Hall of Fame founder, Mel 
Wacks, was born in the Bronx on July 10, 1938. He 
began collecting at the age of 10, after his father 
gave him a pouch of old coins. Mel earned Bachelor's 
and Master's Degrees in Electrical Engineering at 
CCNY and NYU, respectively, and went on to work in 
several engineering companies — but found his true 
calling in the world of numismatics. 

Mel's articles have appeared in The 
Numismatist, Coin World, Numismatic News, World 
Coin News, The Medal, The Shekel, etc. His Handbook 
of Biblical Numismatics was published in 1976, and an 
updated version is now available to everyone on the 

Mel Wacks founded the Jewish-American 
Hall of Fame at the Judah L. Magnes Museum in 
1969, to honor the unique contributions made by 
Jewish Americans to all phases of the American 
way of life. The Jewish-American Hall of Fame has 

86 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

raised over a quarter of a million dollars for non¬ 
profit organizations, principally the Judah L. Magnes 
Museum, the American Jewish Historical Society, 
the Cincinnati Skirball Museum, the American 
Numismatic Society, etc. 

Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals are 
prized by thousands of collectors, and are in the 
collections of the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of 
American Art, and other museums around the world. 

Mel has coordinated the design, production 
and marketing of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame 
medals. The award-winning web site www.amuseum. 
org, written and designed by Mel, is visited by over a 
million people from around the world every year. 

The Jewish-American Hall of Fame plaques 
are on exhibit at the Virginia Holocaust Museum 
in Richmond, and the Jewish-American Hall of 
Fame Medals Collection is a permanent part of the 
Cincinnati Skirball Museum. 

49 x47 mm / Highland Mint 
95 Bronze / 57 Pure Silver / 18 Gold-Plated Silver 



Eugene Daub made several sketches of Mel Wacks in preparation for the medal. 

The reverse design was physically pasted up by Mel Wacks from the calligraphy of 

David Mekelburg. "THE" was added later. 


Mel Wacks/87 

JAHF41 / 2010 


1909 -1967 

Medalist: Eugene Daub 

Obverse: Portrait, Barney Ross (signature), E.L. DAUB. 


Dov-Ber Rasofsky was born in Chicago on 
December 23, 1909. When he was a 14-year old 
rabbinical student, his father — who was a rabbi — 
died in his arms, after being shot in a robbery. As a 
consequence, his mother Sarah suffered a nervous 
breakdown and histhreeyoungersiblings were placed 
in an orphanage or farmed out to other members of 
the extended family. Dov and his two older brothers 
were left to their own devices. He began running 
around with local toughs, developing into a street 
brawler and small-time thief. Dov was even employed 
by Al Capone. 

He changed his name to Barney Ross and 
went on to become a Golden Gloves champion 
— called "The Pride of the Ghetto" — eventually 
dominating the lighter professional divisions. At a 
time, the late 1920s and '30s, when rising Nazism was 
using propaganda to spread virulently anti-Jewish 
philosophy, Ross was seen by American Jews as one 
of their greatest advocates. Barney Ross was the first 

88 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

boxer to hold 3 World titles at the same time (World 
Lightweight and Junior Welterweight Champion 
3.933-1935 and World Welterweight Champion in 1934 
and 1935-1938). Ross was known as a smart fighter 
with great stamina, and was never knocked out in his 

In his early thirties, after his boxing career had 
ended, Ross joined the United States Marine Corps. 
The Marines wanted to keep him stateside and use his 
celebrity status to boost morale. Most of the athletes 
of the era like heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey 
had ceremonial roles in the military, but Ross insisted 
on fighting for his country. 

Barney Ross was sent to Guadalcanal in the 
South Pacific, where one night, he and three other 
stretcher bearers — along with a wounded man and 
two soldiers — were trapped under enemy fire. All of 
his fellow Marines were wounded, as was Ross, but 
he was the only one able to fight. Ross gathered his 

49 x47 mm / Highland Mint 
117 Bronze / 82 Pure Silver / 27 Gold-Plated Silver 

comrades' rifles and grenades and single-handedly 
fought nearly two dozen Japanese soldiers, killing 
them all by morning. Two of the Marines had died in 
the battle, but Ross carried the remaining man on his 
shoulders to safety, even though he outweighed Ross 
by nearly 100 pounds. 

Because of his heroism, Ross was awarded two 
Purple Hearts and America's third highest military 
honor, the Silver Star "For conspicuous gallantry and 
intrepidity in action against the enemy while serving 
with a Marine Battalion in Guadalcanal Nov. 18-20, 
1942," which is inscribed on Ross's Jewish-American 
Hall of Fame medal. 

During his recovery at the hospital from his 
wounds he had received, Ross developed a habit 
for the morphine administered for pain. Back in the 
states, the morphine became a heroin habit. After 
Barney Ross went to a recovery center and beat his 
addiction, he gave lectures to high school students 
about the dangers of drug addiction. Ross' boxing 
career, World War II heroics, subsequent drug 
addiction and recovery were depicted in the 1957 

film, Monkey on My Back. 

Early in 1948, Barney Ross signed up more 
than 2,000 volunteers to fight for the creation of a 
Jewish state, but the State Department refused to 
issue them passports. Ross went on to raise money 
forthe cause and even helped arrange for armaments 
to be sent to the Irgun. 

When Ross died at the age of 57, The New 
York Times obituary indicated: "A student of the 
Talmud who turned to prizefighting, Barney Ross was 
regarded as one of the toughest champions. Outside 
of the ring, moreover, his heroism on Guadalcanal and 
his victory over a narcotics habit brought him further 
recognition as a man who had never been knocked 
out and had never quit." 

In addition to being inducted into The Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame in 2010, Barney Ross has been 
inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame, 
the World Boxing Hall of Fame, the Chicagoland 
Sports Hall of Fame, the International Jewish Sports 
Hall of Fame, and the National Jewish Sports Hall of 


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Barney Ross clay in progress, and Daub's preliminary sketch for reverse, with text added by Mel Wacks. 

Mel Wacks/89 

JAHF42 / 2011 


1918 -1999 

Medalist: Daniel Altshuler 

Obverse: Portrait, GERTRUDE ELION 1918-1999, DIA. 

Reverse: Elion and Carl XVI Gustaf, the King of Sweden, NOBEL PRIZE IN MEDICINE FOR 

Gertrude Elion's exceptional accomplishments 
over the course of her long career as a chemist 
include the development of the first chemotherapy 
for childhood leukemia, the immune-suppressant 
that made organ transplantation possible, the first 
effective antiviral medication, and treatments for 
lupus, hepatitis, arthritis, gout, and other diseases. 
With her research partner, George Hitchings, she 
revolutionized the way drugs were developed, 
and her efforts have saved or improved the lives of 
countless individuals. Elion stated: "It's amazing how 
much you can accomplish when you don't care who 
gets the credit." 

Gertrude Belle Elion was born in New York 
City on January 23,1918. Soon after graduating from 
high school, young Gertrude watched her beloved 
grandfather die painfully of stomach cancer, and 
deciding:"nobody should suffer that much," she 
dedicated herself to finding a cure for cancer. In 1937, 
at the age of 19, Elion graduated from Hunter College 
summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. Many years 

90 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

later, Elion created a scholarship at Hunter College 
for female graduate students in chemistry. 

Unable to find a suitable position, she began 
volunteering in a chemistry lab, enduring daily anti- 
Semitic jokes from the company president but 
gaining valuable experience. By the end of a year 
and a half, she was paid $20 a week, out of which 
she saved enough to enroll at New York University. 
The only woman in her graduate chemistry classes, 
she wrote her thesis at night and on weekends while 
working first as a doctor's receptionist and then as 
a substitute teacher of high school chemistry and 
physics. In 1941, she received her Master's degree. 

In June 1944, Elion was interviewed by Dr. 
George Hitchings of Burroughs Wellcome (now 
GlaxoSmithKline), the pharmaceutical company. 
Elion was intrigued by Hitchings' research project; and 
he was impressed by the young woman's intelligence 
and energy. Over the next decades, the Hitchings- 
Elion partnership proved immensely fruitful. 

In 1950, Elion synthesized a compound (6- 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
125 Bronze / 75 Silver-Plated Bronze / 25 Gold-Plated Bronze 


MP) that caused complete remissions in children with 
leukemia, but a relapse invariably followed. After 
further research, it was discovered that when 6-MP 
was combined with other medications, approximately 
80% of child leukemia patients would be cured. Prior 
to 6-MP, half of all children with acute leukemia died 
within a few months. 

In 1958, a young British surgeon used 6-MP 
to temporarily prevent the rejection of a transplanted 
kidney in a dog. Excited, Elion gave him several 
similar compounds, in the hopes that one would be 
even more effective. The following year, he used 
Elion's drug azathioprine (known as Imuran), to 
transplant a kidney successfully into a dog named 
Lollipop. In 1961, doctors used Imuran to perform 
the first successful kidney transplant between two 
unrelated humans. Thanks to Elion's work, organ 
transplantation has become routine today. 

After several years of work, the Burroughs 
Wellcome team triumphantly unveiled acyclovir 
(Zovirax), the first medication effective against 
viruses. Elion later referred to acyclovir as her "final 
jewel.... That such a thing was possible wasn't even 
imagined up until then." 

In 1964, Gertrude Elion received a call from 
George Mandell of George Washington University, 
who said, "The kind of work you're doing, you've long 

since passed what a doctorate would have meant. 
But we've got to make an honest woman of you. 
We'll give you a doctorate, so we can call you 'doctor' 
legitimately." This was the first of 25 honorary 
doctorates Elion received. 

When it was discovered that one of her 
drugs was an effective treatment for Leshmaniasis 
disease, a serious problem in South America, she 
pushed hard for Burroughs Wellcome to follow up 
on the matter, regardless of the money involved. As 
a former colleague remarked, "She has a real social 
conscience.... In fifty years, Trudy Elion will have 
done more cumulatively for the human condition 
than Mother Theresa." 

In 1988, Elion received the Nobel Prize in 
Medicine "for discoveries of important principles for 
drug treatment," together with Dr. Hitchings and 
Sir James Black. Few Nobels have gone to scientists 
working in the drug industry orthose without Ph.D.s, 
and even fewer to women. Gertrude Elion was only 
the fifth female Nobel laureate in Medicine, and 
just the ninth in science. In 1991 she was awarded 
the National Medal of Science and became the first 
woman to be inducted into the National Inventors 
Hall of Fame. 

This information was excerpted from the 
Jewish Women's Archive. 


When several different patinas applied to untrimmed 
medals were submitted to Mel Wacks for approval, it 
was discovered that the date of Elion's Nobel Prize was 
mistakenly indicated as "1989" instead of "1988." Since 
all of the medals had already been struck, the mint re¬ 
engraved the date on the die and restamped all of the 

Mel Wacks/91 

JAHF43 / 2012 


1785 -1851 

Medalist: Eugene Daub 

Obverse: Portrait, MORDECAI M. NOAH 1785-1851. E.L. DAUB. 

Reverse: Noah writing by candlelight, THE MOST DISTINGUISHING FEATURE of OUR 

Mordecai Manuel Noah was born in 
Philadelphia, on July 19, 1785. He was the first-born 
son of Manuel Noah, an immigrant from Mannheim, 
Germany, who had served in the American 
Revolutionary War, and Zipporah Phillips, daughter 
of Jonas Phillips and Rebecca Machado, whose father 
had served as hazzan (cantor) of the Shearith Israel 
Congregation of New York. Though three of his 
grandparents were Ashkenazi, Noah stressed his 
Sephardi identity. 

As a public servant, Noah served as a Major in 
the New York Militia, Consul to the Kingdom of Tunis, 
sheriff of New York and surveyor of its port, and judge 
in its court of General Sessions. In his lifetime, Noah 
was editor of half a dozen newspapers. In the Jewish 
community, Noah served as its chief orator, delivering 
the major addresses at its important communal 
gatherings. To Americans he was the representative 
Jew; to Jews, he was the quintessential American. 

Noah wrote to Secretary of State James 
Monroe in 1811, that his appointment to a consulship 
would "prove to foreign powers that our government 

92 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

is not regulated in the appointment of their officers by 
religious distinction." But unfortunately, even after 
he had arranged for the freedom of Americans held 
captive by Barbary Coast pirates, Noah's position 
as Consul to the Kingdom of Tunis was terminated 
by Monroe, who stated: "At the time of your 
appointment, as Consul to Tunis, it was not known 
that the religion which you profess would form an 
obstacle to the exercise of your Consular functions." 
Noah's response, in part, was: "My dismissal from 
office in consequence of religion ... may hereafter 
produce the most injurious effects establishing a 
principle, which will go to annihilate the most sacred 
rights of the citizen." 

In the early decades of the nineteenth 
century, America's greatest need was for immigrants. 
Thus, in Buffalo, New York on September 15, 1825, 
Noah dedicated Ararat as "A City of Refuge for the 
Jews." Accounts of the Ararat ceremony appeared 
in newspapers throughout the United States and in 
England, France, and Germany as well. The event 

49 x47 mm / Medallic Art Company 
120 Bronze / 65 Silver-Plated Bronze / 27 Gold-Plated Bronze 

presented the Jews as the most desirable citizens a 
nation could want —able, ambitious, productive, and 
loyal. To the Jews of the Old World, it portrayed what 
kind of country America was for the Jews. America's 
most prominent Jew proclaimed a Jewish state on 
American soil and welcomed his brethren to settle it. 

The ceremonies included the laying of 
the cornerstone, with its Hebrew prayer "Sh'ma 
Yisrael Adonai Elohaynu Adonai Echad" (Hear O 
Israel the Lord is God the Lord is One), and English 
inscription: "Ararat, a City of Refuge for the Jews, 
founded by Mordecai M. Noah in the Month of Tishri, 
5586 (September, 1825) 
and in the Fiftieth Year of 
American Independence." 

The cornerstone is on now 
on display at the Buffalo 
Historical Society. 

While Noah's efforts to establish a Jewish 
homeland in the United States failed, in 1837 he called 
for: "The Jewish people must now do something 
for themselves ... Syria [i.e., Palestine] will revert 
to the Jewish nation by purchase ... Under the co¬ 
operation and protection of England and France, this 
reoccupation of Syria ... is at once reasonable and 

Noah wrote these prophetic words a half- 
century before Theodor Herzl wrote Der Judenstaat, 
and more than a century before the establishment of 
the State of Israel. 

Bibliography: Abraham J. 
Karp, From the Ends of the 
Earth: Judaic Treasures of the 
Library of Congress, 1991). 


Eugene Daub's clay modeling before 
inscriptions had been added. 

Mel Wacks/93 

JAHF44 / 2013 


Medalist: Eugene Daub 


Reverse: Moses with Ten Commandments (after Hermon MacNeil), THE DEMAND FOR JUSTICE 

When Ruth Bader Ginsburg was appointed by 
President Bill Clinton and sworn in as the 107th justice 
to the United States Supreme Court on August 10, 
0.993, she became the second woman justice and the 
first Jewish woman ever to sit on the Court. 

The Ginsburg medal crowns a year of 
impressive achievements for sculptor Eugene Daub, 
who previously attended the dedication of his statue 
of Rosa Parks in the National Statuary Hall in the 
United States Capitol — the first full-sized statue 
authorized and funded by Congress since the 1870s. 

The reverse of the medal features Moses, 
holding the Ten Commandments, represented by 
the first ten letters of the ancient Hebrew alphabet. 
The great lawgiver is based on a sculpture by Hermon 
MacNeil in the eastern pediment of the Supreme 
Court Building. Inscribed is an extract from Ginsburg's 
remarks when she received the Albert D. Chernin 
Award given annually by the Jewish Council for Public 
Affairs: "I am a judge, born, raised, and proud of 
being a Jew. The demand for justice runs through the 
entirety of the Jewish history and Jewish tradition. 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born in Brooklyn 
on March 15, 1933. She was an excellent student in 
school, and was confirmed with honors by the East 

94 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Midwood Jewish Center. At James Madison High 
School, she played the cello in the orchestra, was a 
member of Arista, was a cheerleader and a baton 
twirler, and the school newspaper editor. 

One of only nine women at Harvard Law 
School, Ginsburg and her female classmates were 
asked by the dean why they were occupying seats 
that would otherwise be filled by men. 

After transferring and graduating (tying for 
first in her class) from Columbia Law School, Ginsburg 
became the second woman to join the faculty of 
Rutgers Law School. When she discovered that her 
salary was lower than that of her male colleagues, 
she joined an equal pay campaign with other women 
teaching atthe university, which resulted in substantial 
increases for all the complainants. Prompted by her 
own experiences, Ginsburg established the ACLU 
Women's Rights Project in 1972 so that "artificial 
barriers are removed, and avenues of opportunity 
[are] held open to women. 

The National Women's Hall of Fame sums up 
Ginsburg's service on the Supreme Court as: "Justice 
Bader Ginsburg has become known for her scholarly, 
balanced opinions and forthright personal courage." 

49 x47 mm / Highland Mint 
100 Bronze / 55 Pure Silver / 27 Gold-Plated Silver 





Preliminary sketches of Ruth Bader 
Ginsburg by Eugene Daub. 

Moses was much smaller in early sketch. 


Mel Wacks / 95 




1808 -1887 1911 -1943 

Medalist: Eugene Daub 

Obverse: Portrait, Rabbi Jacob Frankel 1808-1887,1st U.S. Jewish Chaplain, DAUB. 

Reverse: Portraits and sinking troop ship SS Dorchester, THE 4 CHAPLAINS, REV. GEORGE FOX, 

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Jews could 
not serve as chaplains in the U.S. armed forces. When 
the war commenced in 1861, Jews enlisted in both 
the Union and Confederate armies. The Northern 
Congress adopted a bill in July of 1861 that permitted 
each regiment's commander, on a vote of his field 
officers, to appoint a regimental chaplain so long as he 
was "a regularly ordained minister of some Christian 

Hoping to create a test, Colonel Max Friedman 
and the officers of the Cameron's Dragoons elected 
an ordained rabbi, the Reverend Arnold Fischel of 
New York's Congregation Shearith Israel, to serve as 
regimental chaplain-designate. When Fischel, a Dutch 
immigrant, applied for certification as chaplain, the 
Secretary of War complied with the law and rejected 
Fischel's application. 

Fischel's rejection stimulated American Jewry 
to action. Armed with letters of introduction from 
Jewish and non-Jewish political leaders, Fischel met 
on December 11,1861 with President Lincoln to press 

96 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

the case for Jewish chaplains. Fischel explained to 
Lincoln that he came to "contend for the principle of 
religious liberty, for the constitutional rights of the 
Jewish community, and for the welfare of the Jewish 

Lincoln promised Fischel that he would submit 
a new law to Congress "broad enough to cover what 
is desired by you in behalf of the Israelites." Lincoln 
kept his word, and on July 17,1862, Congress adopted 
Lincoln's proposed amendments to the chaplaincy 
law, to allow "the appointment of brigade chaplains of 
the Catholic, Protestant and Jewish religions." 

Almost as soon as the law changed, the 
Board of Ministers of the Hebrew Congregations of 
Philadelphia requested a Jewish hospital chaplain. 
Philadelphia was becoming "a central depository for 
sick and wounded soldiers," and two soldiers of Jewish 
faith had already died without benefit of clergy. 

Jacob Frankel's fellow clergymen nominated 
the popular rabbi, nicknamed the "sweet singer of 

49 x47 mm / Medalcraft Mint 
125 Bronze / 65 Pure Silver / 27 Gold-Plated Silver 


Israel," and Lincoln signed the commission on Sep. 
18,1862. For three years, he acted as Army chaplain, 
singing, chanting, and praying with hospitalized and 
other soldiers. 

There are many stories of bravery among the 
American Military during World War II, but few have 
captured the imagination and admiration of Americans 
more than the Four Chaplains — Rabbi Alexander D. 
Goode; Father John Washington, a Catholic priest; 
Reverend Clark Poling, a Dutch Reformed minister; 
and Reverend George Fox, a Methodist minister. 

Rabbi Alexander D. Goode was born in 
Brooklyn, New York on May 10, 1911, the son of a 
rabbi. He was raised in Washington, D.C., and later 
studied for the rabbinate at Hebrew Union College, 
where he received a B.H. degree in 1937, followed by a 
Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1940. 

After the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, Rabbi 
Goode applied to the Army, receiving his appointment 
as a chaplain on July 21, 1942. Chaplain Goode went 
on active duty on August 9,1942, and was selected for 
the Chaplains School at Harvard in October. 

The Dorchester left New York on January 
23, 1943, en route to Greenland, carrying the four 
chaplains and approximately 900 others, as part of a 
convoy of three ships. 

During the early morning hours of February 
3,1943, at 12:55 a.m., the vessel was torpedoed by a 
German submarine off Newfoundland in the North 
Atlantic. The torpedo knocked out the Dorchester's 
electrical system, leaving the ship dark. Panic set 
in among the men on board, many of them trapped 
below decks. The chaplains sought to calm the men 
and organize an orderly evacuation of the ship. As life 
jackets were passed out to the men, the supply ran 
out. The chaplains removed their own lifejackets and 
gave them to others. They also helped as many men 
as they could into lifeboats, and then linked arms and, 
saying prayers and singing hymns, went down with the 

On December 19, 1944, all four chaplains 
were posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and 
the Distinguished Service Cross. In addition, the Four 
Chaplains' Medal, was approved by a unanimous act 
of Congress on July 14, i960, through Public law 86- 
656 of the 86th Congress. The medals were presented 
posthumously to the next of kin of each of the Four 
Chaplains by Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker 
at Ft. Myer, Virginia on January 18,1961. 

Bibliography: The Fight for Jewish Chaplains chapter in 
Blessings of Freedom, by Michael Feldberg Ph.D. 

Daub's early sketches were later revised. 

The medal's reverse design was inspired by 
the FourChaplains stained glass window at 
the Pentagon. 

Mel Wacks / 97 


JAHF46 / 2015 



1899 -1966 

Medalist: Eugene Daub 

Obverse: Portrait, Gertrude Berg 1899-1966, "YOO-HOO Mrs. Bloom," SANKA/DAUB, MOLLY 
GOLDBERG in exergue. 

Reverse: Cast of The Goldbergs, THE GOLDBERGS, DAUB. 

Gertrude Berg was born Tillie Edelstein in 
New York City in 1899. Her father, Jake Edelstein, ran 
a resort in the Catskill Mountains where Tillie worked 
and eventually created and performed skits to amuse 
the guests' children. She met an older Englishman, 
Lewis Berg, one summer at the resort. He wooed 
her, and when she turned eighteen they married. 
A few years later, she started to pursue her writing 
and acting careers full time, changing her name to 
Gertrude Berg. 

Berg began writing radio scripts based on 
a fictional family she had formulated as a young 
woman, now calling them The Goldbergs, a 
combination of her mother's maiden name and her 
husband's last name. The Goldbergs premiered on 
radio in 1929 with Gertrude filling in for the role of 
Molly until another actress could be found. She was 
so good that when she was sick for a week the public 
sent in mass amounts of fan mail asking, "Where's 
Molly?" Audiences loved listening to the stories and 
struggles of the Goldberg family and their neighbors, 

98 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

and instantly took to the warmth and guidance of the 
accented Molly Goldberg. CBS executives knew they 
had a hit. 

As scriptwriter and star, Gertrude Berg was 
one of the leading women in radio with one of the 
longest running shows. Unlike Molly, Berg lived on 
Park Avenue, owned a country house, and did not 
speak with an accent or recite malapropisms. She 
wrote early in the morning, and then went to the 
studio to produce and star in her show. 

In 1947, following her 17 year run on radio, 
Gertrude saw television as a new exciting media, and 
a new opportunity to reinvigorate and reintroduce 
The Goldbergs following World War II. After a stage 
play, The Goldbergs premiered on CBS in 1949. 
Gertrude Berg was lead writer, star, and producer yet 
again, and The Goldbergs climbed in popularity. 

In 1950, Gertrude Berg won the first best 
actress Emmy Award in history, she had a clothing 
line for housewives, published a cookbook, and 

49 x47 mm / Highland Mint 
115 Bronze / 57 Pure Silver / 27 Gold-Plated Silver 

wrote an advice column called Mama Talks. Her 
television show was made into a movie called Molly 
by Paramount Pictures — with Berg on set and in the 
editing room, exerting her influence as screenwriter 
and producer. 

The Goldbergs eventually moved from the 
Bronx to the suburbs, and continued until 1954, after 
which Berg also wrote and produced a syndicated 
film version that remained on the air for another few 

Gertrude Berg went on to star in theatrical 

productions, and won a Tony in 1959 for best actress 
in A Majority of One. She appeared in a television 
presentation of The Word ofSholom Aleichem in the 
same year, and then returned to television as writer 
and star in Mrs. G Goes to College, which later became 
known as The Gertrude Berg Show. 

Gertrude Berg was the highest paid guest star 
at the time, and appeared with Steve Allen, Milton 
Berle, and Perry Como. Her pioneering show The 
Goldbergs blazed the trail for / Love Lucy and all other 
sitcoms to follow. 


Daub's preliminary sketch for the 
reverse (above) was missing the 
grandfather, who was added in 
the clay model (below). Depicted 
are children Arlene McQuade as 
Rosalie and Tom Taylor as Sammy, 
Eli Mintz as uncle David, Gertrude 
Berg as Molly, and Philip Loeb as 
husband Jake. 

Mel Wacks/99 

JAHF47 / 2016 


1349 -1986 B. 1944 

Medalist: Eugene Daub 

Obverse: Portrait, JUDITH RESNIK, DAUB 

Reverse: Hoffman repairing the Hubble telescope, DAUB. 


One of the seven crew members who died in 
the tragic explosion of the space shuttle Challenger 
on January 28, 1986, Judith ("J.R.") Resnik was a 
pioneer for women entering NASA's space program, 
and the second American woman astronaut to travel 
in space. 

Born Judith Arlene Resnik on April 5, 1949, 
in Akron, Ohio, to first-generation Jewish Russian 
parents, Judith was a bright, curious child who, by 
kindergarten, could both read and solve simple math 

Resnik received her master's degree in 
engineering from the University of Maryland, and 
began work on her Ph.D. while employed as a 
biomedical engineer in the neurophysics lab at the 
National Institutes of Health. 

In 1977, NASA began recruiting minorities and 
women to the space program, and Resnik applied. 
After receiving academic honors for her doctoral 
work in electrical engineering, Resnik was one of six 
women accepted into the 

100 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

program. She would be the second American woman 
to fly in space. 

During her first six years at NASA, Resnik 
specialized in the operation of a remote-control 
mechanical arm that moved objects located outside 
the spacecraft. In 1984, on herfirst space flight on the 
shuttle Discovery, she was responsible for unfurling 
a 102-foot-long solar sail, which, on future missions, 
would be used to capture the sun's energy. 

NASA's Challenger, Flight 51-L, was Dr. 
Resnik's second space launch. She was to have 
assisted in photographing Halley'scomet.The mission 
endured three delays before taking off at 11:38 a.m. 
on January 28, 1986. Seventy-three seconds into 
the flight, the space shuttle exploded in midair due 
to hydrogen leakage caused by faulty O-ring seals. 
Along with her six crew members, Judith Resnik died 
in one of the worst space disasters in history. 

Bibliography: Judith Resnik by Lynn Cohen, courtesy (Jewish Women's Archive) 

49 x47 mm / Medallic Art Company 
130 Bronze / 60 Pure Silver / 31 Gold-Plated Silver 


Dr. Jeffrey Hoffman was hooked on space 
since childhood, in the age of Flash Gordon and Buck 
Rogers. He grew up, got married, and one night his 
wife read aloud a passage in a book that said that 
Jews in New York City are so diverse that they can't 
be stereotyped; the only valid generalization is that 
no Jew has ever been an astronaut or will ever be an 
astronaut. Hoffman decided to prove that wrong, 
and to honor his Jewish heritage in space. 

He moved to Houston, became the first 
astronaut to log over 1,000 hours in space, and went 
up into the firmament five times, including a mission 
to fix the Hubble telescope. 

On his first flight, Hoffman took a mezuzah 
along, and velcroed it onto the sleeping bunk the 
astronauts used in rotation. "You can't nail a mezuzah 
to the door of a space shuttle," the astronaut 
explained with a grin. 

On a subsequent flight, he went up 400 miles 

at a speed of 18,000 mph — with six other crew 
members —to repairthe Hubble, in September 1993. 
The Hubble mission occurred during Chanukah, and 
in addition to a mezuzah and other small Jewish 
objects, Hoffman took along a dreidel (a Chanukah 
top). Images were sent back to mission control, so 
he decided to explain what a dreidel was. He went on 
TV, talking about Chanukah and spinning the dreidel 
to demonstrate the game. The little top floated 
magically in the cabin, suspended in mid-air. Then 
he showed the cameras — and the world — a small 
portable menorah he brought along, but of course 
there was no candle lighting. 

Dr. Hoffman has said: "I thoroughly hope that 
when humans go to settle Mars, Jews will go too and 
bring their Jewishness. It's part of what makes the 
world holy and we should bring it wherever we go." 

Bibliography: The Ultimate Jewish Traveler by Judie 
Fein, courtesy 


Preliminary clay renderings of both sides of the medal by Eugene Daub. 

Mel Wacks /101 

JAHF48 / 2017 


1847 -1911 

Medalist: Eugene Daub 

Obverse: Portrait (after John Singer Sargent), JOSEPH PULITZER 1847-1911, DAUB. 

Reverse: Standing figure of Pulitzer (after William A. Rogers), OUR REPUBLIC AND ITS PRESS 

Joseph Pulitzer was born in Mako, Hungary on 
April 10,1847. Both his parents were registered by the 
official Jewish registry under the heading of Religion 
as "Israelite" and under Nationality as "Jewish." In 
accordance with Jewish law, Joseph Pulitzer was 
circumcised eight days after his birth, and he likely 
received a traditional Jewish upbringing at Mako's 
cheder (Jewish primary school). 

Pulitzer arrived in Boston from Hungary in 
1864 at the age of 17, his passage having been paid by 
Massachusetts military recruiters who were seeking 
soldiers for the American Civil War. Pulitzer was a 
part of Sheridan's troopers, in the First New York 
Lincoln Cavalry in Company L., where he served for 
eight months. 

On March 6, 1867, Pulitzer became an 
American citizen, and just two years later he won a 
seat in the St. Louis state legislature as a Republican. 
In 1884, Pulitzer was elected to the U.S. House of 
Representatives from New York as a Democrat. 
He served from March 4, 1885 until April 10, 1886, 
resigning due to the pressure of journalistic duties. 

102 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

In 1879, Joseph Pulitzer bought both the St. 
Louis Dispatch and the St. Louis Post, merging the 
two papers as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. With his 
own paper, Pulitzer developed his role as a champion 
of the common man, featuring exposes and a hard¬ 
hitting populist approach. 

Putting aside serious health concerns, in 
1883 Pulitzer negotiated the purchase of The New 
York World, which was in financial straits. Charles 
Dana, the editor of the rival New York Sun, attacked 
Pulitzer in print, using derogatory terms like "Judas 
Pulitzer." Pulitzer crusaded against public and private 
corruption, filled the news columns with a spate of 
sensationalized features, made the first extensive use 
of illustrations, and staged news stunts. In one of the 
most successful promotions, The World raised public 
subscriptions for the building of a pedestal at the 
entrance to the New York harbor so that the Statue 
of Liberty, which was stranded in France awaiting 
shipment, could be emplaced. 

From 1896 to 1898, Pulitzer was in a bitter 

49 x47 mm / Medallic Art Company 
110 Bronze / 63 Pure Silver / 34 Gold-Plated Silver 


circulation battle with William Randolph Hearst's 
Journal, in which there were no apparent restraints 
on sensationalism or fabrication of news. When the 
Cubans rebelled against Spanish rule, Pulitzer and 
Hearst both called for war against Spain after the 
U.S. battleship Maine mysteriously blew up and sank 
in Havana harbor on February 15, 1898. Congress 
reacted to the outcry with a war resolution. After 
the four-month war, Pulitzer withdrew from what 
had become known as "yellow journalism," and The 
World became more restrained. Pulitzer waged 
courageous and often successful crusades against 
corrupt practices in government and business. He was 
responsible to a large extent for passage of antitrust 
legislation and regulation of the insurance industry. 

In May 1904, writing in The North American 
Review in support of his proposal for the founding of 
a school of journalism, Pulitzer summarized hiscredo: 
"Our Republic and its press will rise or fall together. 
An able, disinterested, public-spirited press, with 
trained intelligence to know the right and courage to 
do it, can preserve that public virtue without which 

popular government is a sham and a mockery. A 
cynical, mercenary, demagogic press will produce in 
time a people as base as itself. The power to mould 
the future of the Republic will be in the hands of the 
journalists of future generations." 

The Pulitzer Prizes were established in 1917 by 
money bequeathed by Joseph Pulitzer to Columbia 
University to recognize artistic and journalistic 
achievements in the United States. The prizes are 
given annually to award achievements in American 
journalism and photography, as well as literature 
and history, poetry, music and drama. The Columbia 
School of Journalism opened in 1912, thanks to 
Pulitzer's philanthropic bequest. 

Jewish Americans have won Pulitzer Prizes 
in many categories. Some of the winners in fiction 
include Bernard Melamud, Philip Roth, Neil Simon, 
Art Spiegelman, and Herman Wouk. Pulitzer winning 
Jewish American playwrights and musicians include 
Ira Gershwin, George S. Kaufman, Marvin Hamlisch, 
Arthur Miller, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, 
and Wendy Wasserstein. 


One of Eugene Daub's rejected designs for 
the obverse, and a preliminary drawing for the 
reverse — that was deemed to have the figure 
too small. 

Mel Wacks /103 

JAHF49 / 2018 


1914 - 2000 

Medalist: Eugene Daub 
Obverse: Portrait, DAUB. 

Reverse: Portion of patent, "Films have a certain place in time. Technology is forever," Hedy 
Lamarr 1914-2000. 

Hedy Lamarr (nee Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler) 
was born to Jewish parents in 1914 in Vienna. In early 
0.933, at a 9 e 18, s he starred in the movie Ecstasy, 
where she gained worldwide fame for a brief nude 

After she met Louis B. Mayer in Paris, he 
persuaded her to change her name to Hedy Lamarr 
and brought her to Hollywood. Lamarr made her 
American film debut in Algiers (1938), opposite 
Charles Boyer. According to one viewer, when her 
face first appeared on the screen, "everyone gasped 
— Lamarr's beauty literally took one's breath away." 
Hedy made 18 films from 1940 to 1949. After leaving 
MGM in 1945, she enjoyed her biggest success as 
Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah, the 
highest-grossing film of 1949. Hedy Lamarr has a star 
on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6247 Hollywood 
Boulevard, adjacent to Vine Street. 

During World War II, Lamarr learned that 
radio-controlled torpedoes could easily be jammed, 
thereby causing the torpedo to go off course. With 
the knowledge she had gained about torpedoes 
from her first husband, she thought of creating a 

104 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

frequency-hopping signal that could not be tracked 
or jammed. She contacted her friend, composer and 
pianist George Antheil, to help her develop a device 
for doing that — and he succeeded by synchronizing 
a miniaturized player-piano mechanism with radio 

Lamarr and Antheil drafted designs for the 
frequency-hopping system, which they patented. 
However, itwastechnologicallydifficultto implement, 
and at that time the U.S. Navy was not receptive to 
considering inventions coming from outside the 
military — especially from a movie star. 

Rather, Lamarr used her celebrity status to 
sell war bonds. Under an arrangement in which she 
would kiss anyone who purchased $25,000 worth of 
bonds, she sold $7 million worth in one night. 

It wasn't until the 1950s, that engineers began 
experimenting with ideas documented byLamarrand 
Antheil. Their work with spread spectrum technology 
contributed to the development of GPS, Bluetooth, 
and Wi-Fi. So, whenever anyone uses their cell phone 
or GPS he or she should think of Hedy. 

49 x47 mm / Highland Mint 
140 Bronze / 60 Pure Silver / 30 Gold-Plated Silver 



Aug. 11, 1942. H. K. MARKEY ET AL 2,292,387 


Pllad June 10. 1941 2 Sh««t»-5h**t 2 

Shown is part of Hedy Lamarr's 
patent, a portion of which is 
portrayed on the reverse of the 

Mel Wacks/105 

JAHF50 / 2019 


1819 -1900 

Medalist: Eugene Daub 

Obverse: Portrait, ISAAC MAYER WISE 1819-1900, DAUB. 
Reverse: Torah breastplate, ISAAC MAYER WISE (Hebrew). 


Isaac Mayer Wise was one of America's 
outstanding Jews and a leading rabbi during the 
19th Century. His major achievements were the 
establishment of the Union of American Hebrew 
Congregations in 1873, the Hebrew Union College in 
1875, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis 
in 1889. 

Wise was born on March 29,1819, in Steingrub, 
Bohemia. He was a brilliant student, and at the age of 
nine, his father, a teacher, had taught him all he knew 
about the Bible and the Talmud. Wise completed 
his formal education by attending the University of 
Prague and the University of Vienna for three years. 

Atthe age of 23, in 1842, he appeared before a 
Beth Din (a rabbinical court) consisting of three well- 
known rabbis — Solomon Judah Rappaport, Samuel 
Freund, and Ephraim Loeb Teweles — who together 
conferred on him the title of rabbi. Two years later, he 
married Therese Bloch, who was to give birth to ten 

Wise found that being a rabbi in Bohemia 
brought him problems with the government, because 

106 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

of the restrictions still in force against the Jews. He 
decided to come to America because of its religious 
freedom, arriving in New York on July 23, 1846. 
At this time, he changed his name to Wise from its 
original German spelling, Weiss. 

Wise became the rabbi of Congregation Beth 
El in Albany, N.Y., where he introduced choral singing, 
confirmation to replace Bar Mitzvah, and the seating 
of men and women together in pews for services. His 
changes resulted in much disapproval. In 1850, on 
the morning before the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, 
Wise was dismissed at a rump meeting of the board 
of directors. The next day havoc broke loose between 
his followers and those who opposed him. Soon after, 
a group broke away from Beth El and, with Rabbi 
Wise, established a new Reform synagogue called 
Anshe Emet (“Men of Truth"). 

In 1854, Wise went to Cincinnati, Ohio, to 
become rabbi of Beth K.K. B'nai Yeshurun, a Reform 
congregation. (Since 1931, the temple has been 
known as the Isaac M. Wise Temple.) He stayed there 

49 x47 mm / Highland Mint 
130 Bronze / 60 Pure Silver / 30 Gold-Plated Silver 

the rest of his life. It was from there that he tried 
creating a national organization of congregations. He 
found this a difficult task, as the Orthodox rabbis were 
at odds with the Reform movement. Nevertheless, 
despite his setbacks, Wise continued to advocate a 
union of congregations, a common prayer book, and 
a college to educate and train American rabbis. 

Parts of his dreams came true when, in 1873, 
delegates from 34 Reform congregations met in 
Cincinnati and organized the Union of American 
Hebrew Congregations. Two years later, in July 1875, 
the Union established the Hebrew Union College, 
the first Jewish seminary in the United States. Wise 

became its president and teacher. 

Wise was also an organizer and mover in the 
establishment of the Central Conference of American 
Rabbis, in 1889. Elected its president, he served until 
he died on March 26,1900. This conference adopted 
the Union Prayer Book that would be used by all 
Reform congregations. 

Bibliography: Jewish Heroes & Heroines of America: 
150 True Stories of American Jewish Heroism, by 
Seymour Brody, published by Lifetime Books, Inc., 
Hollywood, FL. 


The portrait on the medal's obverse was based on a plaque of Rabbi Isaac 
MayerWise by Boris Schatz.The reverse of the medal is based on a breastplate 
by Andrew Messmer, presented to Rabbi Isaac MayerWise in 1899, on his 80th 
birthday. Both are in the collection of the Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati. 

Mel Wacks/107 



Mel's introduction 
to coin collecting 
came in a small leather 
pouch, given to him by 
his dad around 1949. 
As a true collector, Mel 
still has the pouch and 
the coins that launched 
a lifetime hobby. He 
was initially interested 
in United States cents, 
and assembled a complete collection of Indian Head 
Cents (1859-1909) and Lincoln Cents (beginning with 
1909). In his late teens, Mel began to collect United 
States Patterns (proposed coin designs), and in his 
twenties he discovered ancient Judaean coins. 

Mel became an expert on coins of the Bible 
and wrote The Handbook of Biblical Numismatics, 
which you can read at 
Perhaps Mel's greatest love grew to be art medals. 
He doesn't remember what kindled this interest, but 
it combines Mel's appreciation of art and history. 

Mel's attention quickly turned from collecting 
medals to producing them. In 1969, he launched 
the Jewish-American Hall of Fame 
series, under the auspices of the Judah 
L. Magnes Museum, in Berkeley, 

California — and this is now the longest 
running series of non-government art 
medals issued in the United States. To 
date, over 25,000 medals have been 
purchased by collectors and museums 
around the world — raising nearly a 
quarter of a million dollars forthe Judah 
L. Magnes Museum, the American 
Jewish Historical Society (where the 
Jewish-American Hall of Fame has been 
a division since 2001), the Cincinnati 
Skirball Museum, the American 
Numismatic Society, etc. 

Besides overseeing this project, 

Mel Wacks also has created designs for the reverses 
of several of the medals: 1995 Elie Wiesel, 1996 
Houdini, and 2009 40th Anniversary of the Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame, as well as suggesting artistic 
concepts for others, like the 1998 Titanic, 2007 Moe 
Berg, 2015 Gertrude Berg, etc. 

Mel wrote the text and helped design the 
web site, that is visited by 
over a million people every year. Portrait plaques 
(identical with the medals' obverse designs) are on 
permanent exhibit at the Virginia Holocaust Museum 
in Richmond (see picture below), and a complete set 
of medals are part of the permanent collection of the 
Cincinnati Skirball Museum. 

Mel Wacks has been a member of the 
American Numismatic Association for over 50 years; 
is a Fellow of the American Numismatic Society; and 
a Member of the Numismatic Literary Guild, where 
Mel has won four awards (1999 Best All-Around 
Portfolio, 2000 U.S. Magazines Best Coin Article, 
2002 Best Non-Commercial Web Site, 2007 Best 
Writer NLG Newsletter). 

In addition, Mel has also been President of the 
American Israel Numismatic Association from 2002 
to the present, and has served since 2017 as Editor 
of their quarterly magazine, The Shekel, Journal of 

108 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Israel and Jewish History and Numismatics. Mel has 
had over 100 articles published in leading numismatic 
publications, including The Numismatist, Coin World, 
Numismatic News, World Coin News, Numismatic 
Scrapbook Magazine, The Medal, etc. 

Commendation from the Board of Supervisors, 
County of Alameda, State of California for, in part, 
producing "one of the most important series of 
medals in recent years" (see below). 

Mel is on the Advisory Council of American 

In 2009, Mel Wacks was presented with a Jewish Heritage Month. 

Jewish-American Hall of Fame 

Division of the American Historical Society 

40 th Anniversary 

WHEREAS, the creation of The Jewish-American Hall of Fame was announced by Mel Wacks on April 
14, 1969 with the enthusiastic support of Seymour Fromer, Director and Founder of the Judah L Magnes 
Museum in Berkeley, California; the year before, Julian Levin contributed $500 to get The Jewish-American 
Hall of Fame started, and in its more than 30 years of association, raised $171,045 for the Magnes 
Museum, of which $40,000 created the Mel & Esther Wacks Educational Fund in 1996; and, 

WHEREAS, the unique shape of Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals was created by long-time 
Berkeley resident Victor Ries, who designed the Judah L Magnes and Touro Synagogue medals; Victor’s 
sister Gerta Ries Wiener of Berkeley, created eleven medals from the age of 72 into her 90s, and Marika 
Somogyi, also of Berkeley, sculpted three medals for the Hall of Fame; and, 

WHEREAS, The Jewish-American Hall of Fame, through its award-winning web site, routinely attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually, many of them 
students from Alameda County, as well as throughout the United States and around the world; and, 

WHEREAS, over 20,000 Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals have been acquired by individuals, 
synagogues and museums around the world, many stamped with the name of the Magnes Museum on the 
edge; these are ambassadors of good will that will not decay or disappear with time; some of those who 
have been honored include: Albert Einstein (artist Robert Russin), Louis Brandeis (Gerta Ries Weiner), 
George Gershwin (Robert Russin), Golda Meir (Gerta Ries Wiener), Levi Strauss (Hal Reed), Isaac Stern 
(Gerta Ries Wiener), and Benny Goodman (Marika Somogyi); and, 

WHEREAS, The Jewish-American Hall of Fame is the longest series of art medals being produced in the 
United States; it is also considered to be one of the most important series of medals in recent years 
(Catalog of the XXII Congress of Federation Internationale de la Medaille, Helsinki); 

THEREFORE, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors, on June 2 , 2009 , does 
commend The Jewish-American Hall of Fame for its forty years of promoting unique 
and accomplished Jewish Americans and sharing their life history with Alameda 
County residents, and express great appreciation to its legendary founder and 
executive director, Mel Wacks, for making the County of Alameda a better place in 
which to live, and extend its best wishes for continued success in the future. 

Alice Lai-Bitker, President 

Supervisor, Third District 

Gail Steele 

Keith Carson 

Supervisor, Fifth District 

Mel Wacks /109 


Stephen Scher, writes in The Currency of 
Fame — Portrait Medals of the Renaissance: "One 
of the most original and complete means of fulfilling 
the Renaissance desire for fame and immortality 
was the portrait medal, for within the confines of 
this small, durable, portable, and easily reproduced 
object contained a wealth of information about the 
subject represented." 

One of the earliest Jewish portrait medals: 

Gracia Nasi c. 1558, probably by Pastorino de'Pastorini. 

Image courtesy ofBusso Peus Nacht. 

While, during the Renaissance, portrait 
medals were principally commissioned by the subject 
himself (or herself) and given to family and friends, the 
subjects of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame have 
to merit their nomination by their accomplishments. 

The artist must sculpt 8" diameter models, 
which are then reduced to 2" diameter steel dies. 
The reduction process precisely reproduces even the 
most subtle modeling details. 

The Jewish-American Hall of Fame has 
commissioned some of the finest medalists in 
America (and overseas as well) to create medals of 
enduring artistic and historic merit. 

Our medalists are listed in the order of the 
number of medals that they sculpted for the Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame series. 

Eugene Daub at unveiling of his Rosa Parks statue. 

Eugene Daub, has created more Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame medals than anyone else — 
12 from 2007 through 2019 — including Ruth Bader 
Ginsburg (2013), Joseph Pulitzer (2017) and Hedy 
Lamarr (2018). 

Eugene Daub is also one of America's leading 
sculptors of public monuments. His sculpture of Rosa 
Parks was the first commission of a full-sized statue 
approved and funded by the U.S. Congress since 
1873. It was installed in the National Statuary Hall in 
the United States Capitol on February 27, 2013 in a 
ceremony attended by President Obama, House and 
Senate leaders, and Civil Rights activists. 

110 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 


(1898 - 2000) 

Gerta Ries Wiener was a multi-talented artist, 
sculptor, illustrator, puppet-maker, etc. long before 
she created her first medal at the age of 70. She 
created eleven medals for the Jewish-American Hall 
of Fame from 1971 through 1994, including Golda 
Meir (1978), Isaac Stern (1982) and Emma Lazarus 


The letters, referring to her development 
of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame medal 
designs, that Gerta wrote to Mel Wacks are now 
in the collection of the Archives of American Art, 
Smithsonian Institution. 


(1921 - 2003) 


Hal Reed learned to create bas relief maps in 
the Army, and developed this talent into the ability to 
produce 3-dimensional designs for medals. 

He created five medals for the Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame, including Jonas Salk (1980), 
Hank Greenberg (1991) and Houdini (1996), as well as 
several special medals listed in Appendix B. 

Hal also created numerous paintings, 
sculptures, collector plates, etc. 


(BORN 1947) 

% I 

Alex Shagin created six Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals 
between 1995 and 2002, including Elie Wiesel (1995), Barbra Streisand 
(1997) and the First Jewish Settlers in America (1999). He also produced 
a number of special issue medals ranging from Natan Shcharansky in 
1982 to Arthur Welsh in 2012. See Appendix B for the full list. 

Alex Shagin was formerly a medalist at the Leningrad Mint, 
before emigrating to America, seeking religious and artistic freedom. 

Mel Wacks /111 


(BORN 1939) 



Marika Somogyi sculpted three Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame medals, honoring Benny 
Goodman in 1989, Leonard Bernstein in 1993, and 
Arthur Miller in 2000. She also created the Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame Irving Berlin plaque in 1988, 
and numerous special issue medals honoring Kurt 
Weill, Judah L. Magnes and Raoul Wallenberg — all 
in 1982 — through the Shoah (1992). See Appendix B 
for the full list. 

As a child survivor of the Holocaust, Marika 
sculpted one of the only monuments dedicated to 
the victims Kristallnacht. This stood for many years 
at the Magnes Museum before being taken down, 
due to deterioration. 

Vincze's self- 
portrait medal 
commemorating his 
yoth birthday. 

Paul Vincze 
was originally from 
Hungary, but he later 
lived in England and then 
in the south of France. In 
later life he was often called "The Dean of Medalists," 
because of the quantity and quality of his output, as 
well as the celebrity of his subjects, who often sat for 
their portraits — including Prime Minister Winston 
Churchill and President Harry S. Truman. Vincze is 
also famous for having created official medals for all 
of Shakespeare's plays. 

Paul Vincze created three medals for the 
Jewish-American Hall of Fame. These are the only 
round medals in the series, since he declined to use 
the unique rounded trapezoidal shape of the others. 
His medals commemorate Haym Salomon (1973), 
The Jews Who Helped Columbus — Abravanel, 
Santangel and Zacuto (1986) — also, Columbus and 
the Expulsion of the Jews (1992). 


(1914 - 2007) 

Prof. Robert Russin working on Einstein clay model. 

Robert Russin created three medals for the 
Jewish-American Hall of Fame — Albert Einstein 
(1970), George Gershwin (1972), and Isaac Bashevis 
Singer (1984). 

Russin was best known for his public 
sculptures, by one account numbering more than 
400 worldwide, including a massive bronze bust 
of Abraham Lincoln — called the Abraham Lincoln 
Memorial Monument — which was originally 
dedicated in 1959 at the highest point on the Lincoln 
Highway in Wyoming, and the "Spirit of Life" 
fountain at the City of Hope National Medical Center 
in Duarte, California. 

112 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 



Victor Ries — still working at 100. 

Victor Ries not only sculpted two medals in 
the Jewish-American Hall of Fame series — Judah 
L. Magnes (1969) and Touro Synagogue (1977) — 
but he also created the unique rounded trapezoidal 
shape of all the medals (except those by Paul Vincze). 
Mel Wacks, Director of the Jewish-American Hall of 
Fame, often says that "the success of this series is 
due in large part because of their unusual shape." 

The promotion for Metal Man, the 
documentary about Victor Ries' life, indicates: "As 
both a highly regarded teacher and visionary artist, 
Victor Ries' work has earned great respect. Victor's 
mastery of metal and the range of his work, from 
small jewelry pieces to large scale art installations, 
are featured in synagogues and churches." 



(BORN 1927) 

Karen Worth designed her first medal for 
the Society of Medalists in 1963. Since that time, 
she has designed more than 600 coins and medals, 
including the Jewish-American Hall of Fame 
commemorative for Samuel Gompers and Sidney 
Hillman, issued in 2004. 


(BORN 1949) 

Jim Licaretz worked for the United States 
Mint as a sculptor-engraver from 1986-1989 and 
again from 2006-2016; he has more than 10 executed 
coin designs to his credit. Jim has also worked for the 
Franklin Mint, and has served as a master sculptor for 
toymaker Mattel. Jim created the 'Rosie' Rosenthal 
medal forthe Jewish-American Hall of Fame in 2005. 

Mel Wacks /113 



(BORN 1962) 

1 (BORN 1965) 

Virginia Janssen 
designed the 2007 
Jewish-American Hall of 
Fame medal honoring 
Lillian Wald. Virginia has 
created designs for the 
American Numismatic 
Association and other 
organizations. Virginia 
wrote the chapter The 
Art of Die-Engraving in 
Coinage of the Americas 
Conference Proceedings 

Daniel Altshuler has had his sculptures 
featured at The White House, the Carter Center 
Presidential Museum and Library, the Texas A&M 
Museum, Brookgreen Gardens, the Helen Keller 
Foundation, the Thoreau Institute Museum and 
Library, and The Royal Mint. In 2012, Altshuler's busts 
of Francis Crick and James D. Watson were installed 
in the permanent 

collection of the 
Nobel Museum 
in Stockholm, 
Sweden. Daniel 
Altshuler created 
the medal 

honoring Gertude 
Elion for the 
Hall of Fame in 


Altshuler sculpting clay 
portrait of Gertrude Elion. 

Jacques Schnier 
created the Herbert 
H. Lehman medal 
(1974) for the Jewish- 
American Hall of 
Fame. Schnier's public 
commissions embraced 
extremes of scale, 
from the design and 
execution in 1936 of 
the commemorative 
half dollar for the 
opening of the San 
Francisco-Oakland Bay 
Bridge, to monumental 
statues and bas- 
reliefs for the Golden 
Gate International 
Exposition of 1939-40. 

Jacques Schnier at the 
Judah L. Magnes Museum. 

114 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 


Mel Wacks (born 1938) created the 
calligraphy, based on the fonts developed by David 
Mekelburg, for the reverse of the Elie Wiesel (1995), 
Houdini (1996) and Mel Wacks (2009) Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame medals. As coordinator of 
the Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals, Mel also 
influenced many of the designs; his name appears on 
the reverse of the Titanic medal (1998). 

Susan Fisher was a calligrapher, who designed 
the English and Yiddish reverse of the Isaac Bashevis 
Singer medal, issued by the Jewish-American Hall of 

Fame in 1984, using 
a quote personally 
supplied by Singer. 

Wacks at the opening 
of the Jewish- 
American Hall 
of Fame exhibit at the 
Virginia Holocaust 




JAHFW1 /1968 


Models for 1968 Wooden Shekel: 
Ancient Judaean Shekel, Year 
2=67/8 C.E. and Judah L. Magnes 
Museum, at 2911 Russell Street, 
Berkeley, California. 

Prototype, with hand written 
inscriptions. Only 2 made. 

1968 Wooden Shekel by Mel 
Wacks. 1,000 made. 

Mel Wacks/115 


JAHFW2 /1969 

Models for 1969 Wooden 
Prutah: Ancient Judaean 

Prutah, Year 2=67/8 C.E. and 
Beth Sholom, San Leandro, 
California, early 20th century. 

1969 Wooden Prutah by Mel 
Wacks. 1,000 made. 


JAHFW3 /1970 

Models for 1970 Wooden 
Yehud Obol: Ancient Yehud 
Obol, Persian Period in Judaea, 
4th century B.C.E. and Jewish 
Sabbath/Festival Lamp, Germany, 
14th century. 

1970 Wooden Yehud Obol by Mel 
Wacks. 1,000 made. 

116 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

JAHFW4 / 2000 


Model for 2000 Einstein Wooden 
Cybershekel: Albert Einstein medal 

(designed by Robert Russin), issued by the 
Jewish-American Hall of Fame, 1970. 

X\^ V OF ^/ 0 

CV /v 

2000 Einstein Wooden Cybershekel 
by Alex Shagin. 1,000 made. 

JAHFW5 / 2009 


Models for 2009 Wooden Shekel: 
Ancient Judaean Shekel, Year 
2=67/8 C.E. and Judah L. Magnes 
medal (designed by Victor Ries), 
issued by the Jewish-American 
Hall of Fame, 1969. 

^°SE UM.O^ V 

2009 Wooden Shekel by Mel 
Wacks. 1,000 made. 

Mel Wacks /117 





JAHFS1 /1978 

Camp David Peace Dollar by Mel Wacks & Adam Cool (i,ooo). 38 mm. Counterstamped. 

JAHFS2 /1981 

Benjamin Zweifach by Hal Reed, bronze (50), pure silver (3). 63 mm. 
Commissioned by U.S.A. Microcirculatory Society. Metal Arts. Struck. 

118 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

JAHFS3 /1981 

Fred Kahan by Hal Reed, bronze (33), silver-plated bronze (27), gold-plated bronze (i), pure silver (6). 63 mm. 

Commissioned by Bnai Zion. Metal Arts. Struck. 

JAHFS4 /1982 

Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya by Marika Somogyi, from a concept by Mel Wacks, bronze (12?). 

100 x 102 mm. Cast. 

Photos reduced by 25%. 

Mel Wacks /119 

JAHFS5 /1982 

Judah L. Magnes/Magnes Museum by Marika Somogyi, bronze (35), 
silver-plated bronze (2). 107 x 114 mm. Cast. 

Photos reduced by 25%. 

JAHFS6 /1982 

Raoul Wallenberg by Marika Somogyi, bronze (116). 112 x 114 mm. 105 mm. Cast. 

Photos reduced by 25%. 

120 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

JAHFS7 /1982 

Natan Shcharansky by Alex Shagin, bronze (70). 100 mm. Cast. 
Photos reduced by 25%. 

JAHFS8 /1984 

Remember the Eleven by Alex Shagin, bronze (110), silver (117). 38 mm. 

+ Pieces sold by issuing organization. Commissioned by Rabbi David Baron. Johnson Matthey. Struck. 

Mel Wacks /121 

JAHFS9 /1985 

David Ben Gurion by Marika Somogyi, bronze (81). 95 x 105 mm. Cast. 

Photos reduced by 25%. 

JAHFSIO / 1986 

Marc Chagall Centennial by Marika Somogyi, silver (183), gold (33). 53 x 45 mm. Cast. 

122 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

JAHFS11 /1986 

Statue of Liberty Centennial by Marika Somogyi, bronze (?), 111 mm. Cast. 

Also in bronze (47), silver (?) and gold plated silver (?). 44 mm. S. Johnson (Italy). Struck. 

Photos of large medal reduced by 25%. 


Sherlock Holmes by Marika Somogyi, silver (104), gold (9). 42 x 55 mm. Cast. 

Mel Wacks /123 

JAHFS13 /1988 

Peace designed by Nat Sobel, sculpted by Marcel Jovine (restrike), bronze (345), gold-plated bronze (16), 

silver (100), gold (29). 62 mm. Medallic Art Co. Struck. 

JAHFS14 /1988 

J. F. Kennedy by Paul Vincze, bronze (118), silver (65), gold (5). 56 mm. Medallic Art Co. Struck. 

JAHFS15 /1989 

Charlie Chaplin by Marika Somogyi, silver (50), gold (2). 50 mm. Cast. 

124 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

JAHFS16 /1990 

Jewish Cultural Achievement Award by Marika Somogyi, bronze with ribbon (80). 76 mm. 
Commissioned by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Tri-State Mint (Medallic Art Co.). Struck. 

JAHFS17 /1990 

JAHFS17/1990: Yosemite by Marika Somogyi, bronze (17). 90 mm. Cast. 

Photos reduced by 25%. 

Mel Wacks /125 

JAHFS18 / 1991 

Agatha Christie by Marika Somogyi, bronze & leather (30). Medal 65 x 88 mm. Cast. 

Photos reduced by 25%. 

JAHFS19 / 1993 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg/Jewish-American Hall of Fame 25th Anniversary by Hal Reed, silver (150), gold-plated 

silver (50). 39 mm. Continental Coin Co. Struck. 

126 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

JAHFS20 /1994 

Oscar Schindler by Marika Somogyi, bronze (38). 102 x 106 mm. Cast. 
+ bronze (999 limit) made by IGCMC. 98 x 100 mm. Cast. 

Those made by IGCMC. 98 x 100 mm. Cast. 

Photos of large medal reduced by 25%. 

JAHFS21 /1994 

World War II Victory by Marika Somogyi, bronze (21). 85 x 75 mm. Cast. 

Mel Wacks /127 

JAHFS22 /1995 

Jerusalem by Marika Somogyi, bronze, (33). 113 x 126 mm. Cast 

128 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

JAHFS23 /1995 

David/Jerusalem by Alex Shagin, bonded bronze, (55). 158 x 110 mm. Cast. 

Photos reduced by 25%. 

JAHFS24 /1997 

Shoah by Marika Somogyi, bronze (40). 58 mm. Cast. 

Mel Wacks/129 

JAHFS25 /1997 

Widow's Mite by Alex Shagin, bonded bronze and ancient Hasmonean coin (26). 130 x 135 mm. Cast. 

Photos reduced by 25%. 

JAHFSP1 / 2000 

Aaron Copeland by Alex Shagin, bonded bronze (unique). Est. 150 x 150 mm. Cast. 

Photo reduced by 25%. 

130 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

JAHFS26 / 2004 

350 Years of Jewish Life in America by Dana Krinsky, bronze (i,ooo), silver (91), 
gold-plated silver (57). 75 mm. Commissioned by Celebrate 350. Highland Mint. Struck. 

JAHFS27 / 2004 

Haym Salomon/For God and Country obverse by Paul Vincze, reverse by Mel Wacks, 
bronze (12) 63.5 mm., silver (4) 63.5 mm., gold-plated silver (8) 63.5 mm., silver (30) 22 mm., 
X A oz. gold (2) 22 mm. Commissioned by Mainstay Films (James Arcuri). Highland Mint. Struck. 

Mel Wacks /131 

JAHFS28 / 2006 

Haym Salomon/FEGS obverse by Paul Vincze, reverse by Mel Wacks, bronze (104). 63.5 mm. 
Commissioned by FEGS (Federation Employment and Guidance Service). Highland Mint. Struck. 

JAHFS29 / 2010 

Over 1,000 Years of Jewish Life in China by Jamie Franki, bronze (ioo), silver-plated bronze (55), 
gold-plated bronze (37). 75 mm. Greco Industries. Struck. 

132 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

JAHFS30 / 2012 

Arthur Welsh by Alex Shagin, bronze (50), silver-plated bronze (35), gold-plated bronze (15) + unnumbered 
bronze (25), silver-plated bronze (15) and gold-plated bronze (10). 56 mm. 

Commissioned by the Greater Washington Historical Society. Medallic Art Co. Struck. 

JAHFS31 / 2012 

Haym Salomon/K. K. Mikvek Israel obverse by Paul Vincze, reverse by Frank Gasparro, 
antique bronze (3), prooflike gold-plated bronze with ribbon (50). 76 mm. 
Commissioned by Congregation Mikveh Israel (Philadelphia). Medallic Art Co. Struck. 

JAHFS32 / 2012 

Haym Salomon/For God and Country obverse by Paul Vincze, reverse by Mel Wacks, bronze (250). 

22 mm. Highland Mint. Struck. 

Mel Wacks /133 

JAHFS33 / 2013 

Rebecca and Seymour Fromer (Fromer Scholar Award) by Joel Iskowitz assisted by Mel Wacks, 
bronze (65) + bronze with ribbon (25). 57 mm. Commissioned by Magnes Collection. 

Medalcraft Mint. Struck. 

JAHFS34 / 2017 

Four Chaplains Award by Eugene Daub, nickel with ribbon (50) + (3) Artist Proofs. 
70 mm. Commissioned by Army Chaplain Corps. Medalcraft Mint. Struck. 

134 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

JAHFS35 / 2018 

Emma Lazarus Statue of Liberty Award by Gerta Ries Wiener, 
bronze Artist's Proof (12) + bronze with ribbon (40). 49 x 47 mm. 
Commissioned by the American Jewish Historical Society. Medalcraft Mint. Struck. 

JAHFS36 / 2019 

Gratz College Award, designed by Katherine Cohen (1859-1914) and sculpted by Phyllis Hamilton, 
bronze Artist's Proof (8) + silver with ribbon (25). 63.5 mm. 

Commissioned by Gratz College. Highland Mint. Struck. 

Mel Wacks /135 




First, the portrait or other 
design is modeled inside a 
large (about 8") Plaster of 
Paris basin that isthe same 
shape as the final medal. 
Shown is Rabbi Isaac 
Mayer Wise artwork. 

Here is the final Plaster of 
Paris model, with details 
and lettering added. 

136 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

The plaster model is 
converted to a negative 
hard epoxy model (the 
same size), which is then 
mounted on a three- 
dimensional reducing 
machine, that cuts a steel 
die in the exact size of the 
final medal — one die for 
the obverse ("heads" side) 
and another die for the 
reverse ("tails" side). 

Pair of steel dies for 
obverse and reverse of the 
Jonas Salk medal. 

The minting process 
begins with blanks, in the 
exact shape of the medal, 
cut out from sheets of 
metal, using a trim tool 
(like a hefty cookie cutter). 

Mel Wacks /137 

The first strike of the 
Herbert H. Lehman medal, 
using a multi-ton press 
brings out rudimentary 

The second strike brings 
out additional details. 

The third strike is almost 
sufficient, but tip of nose 
and portions of star are not 
fully struck up. 

The fourth strike brings out 
all of the details and relief 
of the medals. Note that 
other Jewish-American 
Hall of Fame medals 
may have required fewer 

138 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Mel Wacks/139 

Finally, the edges are marked with some or all of 
the following: mint, metal, serial number, etc. 

140 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 



The first six Jewish-American Hall of Fame 
medals (Magnes, Einstein, Brandeis, Gershwin, 
Salomon and Lehman) boxed in a custom wood 
display case were promoted and sold by Medallic 
Art Co. beginning in 1976. According to a letter from 
MACO dated December 7, 1976, "Strike Order" was 
150 bronze sets, 75 silver sets and 25 vermeil (gold- 
plated silver) sets. A letterfrom MACO dated February 
14,1979 indicates that the following numbers of sets 
were "Scrap": no bronze, 33 silver and 17 vermeil. 
Therefore the net sets sold were 150 bronze, 42 silver 
and 8 vermeil. 

Surviving records indicate bronze serial 
numbered 401-484 and 801-811 were sold by the 

Jewish-American Hall of Fame. And records indicate 
that the following serial numbered silver sets were 
sold by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame: 01 and 
401-456. Other serial numbers were sold by MACO. 

There are no surviving records for the vermeil 
(gold-plated silver) sets, except that number 19 was 
sold by the Jewish-American Hall of Fame. 

These serial numbers were intended to be 
higher than the serial numbers that the Jewish- 
American Hall of Fame sold — to avoid duplicating 
numbers. The total quantities of medals produced 
for these sets were within the announced mintage 
limits, and are included in the mintages for the first 
six medals — indicated in this book. 

Mel Wacks/141 

High Relief Portraits By Famous Sculptors 

As Official Medalist to the Museum for this privately commissioned series, we 
were very pleased to have been able to offer our established collectors —such as your¬ 
self— an opportunity to acquire a rare matched-number set of the Jewish-American 
Medallic Hall of Fame. 

Some of the finest sculptors in America —Paul Vincze, Jacques Schnier, Pro¬ 
fessor Robert Russin, Victor Ries, Gerta Ries Wiener— are represented in this unique 
series, and the men they commemorate are fitting subjects for their talent. 

It is no small challenge for an artist to sculpt a portrait of the well-known fea¬ 
tures of a genius like Albert Einstein... or to capture the dignity of a Justice Brandeis; 
the spirit of a Gershwin; the vitality of a Herbert Lehman. In the case of the Haym 
Salomon medal, sculptor Vincze had no photograph or painting to work from, as no 
known likeness of the famous patriot exists, nor is there any written description of 
him. Vincze spent many hours reading about and researching his subject, forming a 
picture of the man and his character in his mind, and studied a picture of Salomon’s 
daughter for further reference. It is almost certain now that Vincze’s fine sculpture will 
become the accepted “portrait” of Haym Salomon in years to come. 

Perhaps no portrait of the man himself could ever express so eloquently the life 
and work of Judah Leon Magnes as well as does the Jerusalem scene portrayed on the 
obverse of the Magnes commemorative. Ries’ depiction of the Library of the Hebrew 
University —which Magnes founded— and the Shrine of the Book, are powerfully 
conceived, enduring tributes to this man of determination and compassion. Sculptor 
Victor Ries has already won numerous awards for his outstanding work in the field of 
Jewish ceremonial art, and this commemorative is truly one of his finest works. The 
technique he used to sculpt the model for the obverse —working directly in bronze 
rather than in plaster— in itself makes the medal a collector’s rarity. 

Originally issued one per year, beginning in 1969, in very small limited editions 
of Fine Silver and Solid Bronze, each medal has been individually hallmarked and 
serially numbered. Because of their unique shape, the depth of the relief, the quality of 
the work, and the prominence of both subjects and artists, we are certain that this 
matched-number set of fine art medals will be a valuable, long treasured addition to 
your collection. 

This brochure accompanied each boxed set of the first six Jewish-American Hall of Fame medals. 

142 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 



Striking Medals 


The exhibit, "Striking Medals: 50 Years of the 
Jewish-American Hall of Fame," at the Cincinnati 
Skirball Museum on the historic campus of Hebrew 
Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, marked 
the first time that a complete collection of this 
historic series has ever been on public display. The 
Skirball Museum was the first formally established 
Jewish museum in the United States, founded in 1913 
as the Union Museum. 

In addition to showing two sides of each 
medal issued annually from 1969 through 2019, The 
exhibition featured all 50 medals, produced annually 
from 1969 through 2019 in duplicate, so that the 
reverse of each could be viewed, as well as displays 
that chronicle the history and origin of portrait 
medals; the process of creating the medals from 
original sketches to clay and plaster models and dies; 
and texts and videos about the accomplishments of 
the inductees. 

Jews have made important contributions 
to the history and culture of America for hundreds 
of years in all fields of endeavor, and many of their 
stories were told in this exhibition. 

Visitors viewed the Jewish-American Hall of 
Fame medals, displayed in the following categories: 
Early History of Jewish Portrait Medals (Gracia Nasi 

and Gershom Mendes Seixas), Christopher Columbus 
& The Jews (Don Isaac Abravanel, Abraham Zacuto, 
et al.), Beginnings of Jewish Life in America (Asser 
Levy, Touro Synagogue, et al.), Music & Literature 
(Emma Lazarus, George Gershwin, et al.), Pop Culture 
(Houdini, Hedy Lamarr, et al.), Science & Medicine 
(Albert Einstein, Judith Resnik, et al.), Advocacy 
& Education (Ernestine Rose, Judah L. Magnes, et 

Abby Schwartz, Director of the Cincinnati 
Skirball Museum, with Mel Wacks, at the 
entrance to the exhibit. 

Mel Wacks/143 

JAHF51 / 2020 


B. 1967 

The Jewish-American Hall of Fame medal 
series is continuing - and here is a sneak preview of 
our next medal, by Eugene Daub. The reverse design 
will be identical to our 2009 medal. 

Dara Torres is arguably the fastest female 
swimmer in America. She entered her first 
international swimming competition at age 14 and 
competed in her first Olympic Games a few years 
later in 1984. 

At the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008, Dara 
became the oldest swimmer to compete in the 
Olympic Games. When she took three silver medals 
home - including the infamous heartbreaking 
50-meter freestyle race where she missed the Gold 
by l/iooth of a second - America loved her all the 
more for her astonishing achievement and her good- 
natured acceptance of the results. 

In total, Dara has competed in five Olympic 
Games and has won 12 medals in her entire Olympic 
career(Jewish American swimmerMarkSpitzhaswon 
only 11 Olympic medals). In her first Olympic games in 
1984, she won a gold medal for the 100-meter relay. 
She went on to compete in the 1988,1992, 2000, and 
2008 Olympics, winning five medals in 2000, more 
than anyone else on her team. In 2008, the oldest- 
ever Olympic swimmer at age 41 (and having given 
birth only a year earlier), she won two silver medals 
for 100-meter medley relay and 50-meter freestyle, 
breaking the American freestyle record she had set 
at age fifteen. Over the course of her career, she won 
four gold, four silver, and four bronze medals at the 

Olympics and broke the American record speeds 
for 50-meter freestyle ten times, more than any 
American swimmer in any event. In the Wikipedia 
List of Multiple Olympic Medalists, Dara is in 15th 
place worldwide (including both men and women), 
in 4th place among Americans, in 2nd place among 
American women, and in 1st place among all Jewish 

Aside from her amazing accomplishments 
in the pool, Dara has talents on dry land as well. A 
composed commentator, guest host and strong 
interviewee, she has appeared on Fox News, ESPN, 
CNN, Piers Morgan Tonight, Today Show, Good 
Morning America, Kelly and Regis, and many others. 
Additionally, Dara was the first female athlete ever 
to be featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit 
Issue, and in 2009, won the ESPY award for "Best 
Comeback." To add to Dara's accolades, she was 
also named one of the "Top Female Athletes of 
the Decade" by Sports Illustrated Magazine and in 
2019, Dara was inducted into the U.S. Olympic and 
Paralympic Hall of Fame. 

Now a top-selling author, her memoir, "Age is 
Just a Number: Achieve Your Dreams at Any Stage 
in Your Life," published in April, 2009 and was listed 
as one of the top 25 best-selling business books by 
June. Her second book, "Gold Medal Fitness: A 
Revolutionary 5-Week Program" hit stands in May, 
2010 and is now a New York Times Best-Seller. 


144 /Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 


Original sketch by Eugene Daub 

Intermediate clay (left) and final Plaster-of-Paris model (right). Note that Dara 
Torres' name is in a different location on each of the below images. 

MelWacks / 

350 Years of Jewish Life in 
America 131 

Abravanel, Don Isaac 40 
Altman, Diana Cohen 4 
Altshuler, Daniel 114 
American Jewish Historical 
Society 4, 35 , *35 
Army Chaplain Corps 134 

Ben Gurion, David 122 
Berg, Gertrude 98-99 
Berg, Moe 80-81 
Berle, Milton 84-85 
Berlin, Irving 46-47 
Beth Sholom, San Leandro, 
California 116 

Bible (Quotes) 14-15,16, 20-21, 
68, 82-83,121, 122 i 128, 
Bnai Zion 119 

Boxed Sets of Jewish-American 
Hall of Fame medals 141- 


Brandeis, Louis B. 10-11 

Camp David Peace Dollar 118 
Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden 

Carnegie Hall 32-33 
Chagall, Marc 122 
Chaplain, Charlie 124 
Christie, Agatha 126 
Cincinnati Skirball Museum 4, 


Cohen, Gil 79 
Cohen, Katherine 135 
Columbus, Christopher 40-41, 

Congregation Mikveh Israel 
Philadelphia 74,133 

Congregation Shearith Israel (The 
Synagogue) 18, 69 
Cool, Adam 118 
Copeland, Aaron 130 

Daub, Eugene 80-81, 84-85, 86- 
87, 88-89, 92-93, 94-95, 
96-97, 98-99,100-101, 

David 129 

Einstein, Albert 8-9,116 
Elion, Gertrude 90-91 

FEGS (Federation Employment 
and Guidance Service) 


Feldberg, Michael 4 
Ferdinand V, King of Castile 40 
Fisher, Susan 37,114 
Four Chaplains 96-97,134 
Frankel, Jacob 96 
Franki, Jamie 132 
Fromer, Rebecca 134 
Fromer, Seymour 4,11, 23, 39, 

Gasparro, Frank 133 
Gershwin, George 12-13 
Ginsburg, Ruth Bader 94-95,126 
Goldberg, Molly (see Berg, 

Gompers, Samuel 76-77 
Goode, Alexander 96-97 
Gratz, Rebecca 30-31 
Gratz College 135 
Greater Washington Historical 
Society 133 

Greco Industries 46,132 

Hamilton, Phyllis 135 
Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati 

Highland Mint 78, 80, 82, 84, 86, 
88, 94, 98,104,106 
Hillman, Sidney 76-77 
Hoffman, Jeffrey 100-101 
Holmes, Sherlock 123 

Isabella I, Queen of Castile 40 

Iskowitz, Joel 1,134 

Israel Government Coins and 

Medals Corp. (IGCAMC) 


J. Jenkins Sons 54 
Janssen, Virginia 114 
Jefferson, Thomas 74-75 
Jerusalem 128-129 
Jewish-American Hall of Fame 
4-5, 86-87,115,117,126 
Johnson Matthey 34, 36, 38 
Jovine, Marcel 124 

Kahan, Fred 119 
Kaifeng (Over 1,000 Years of 

Jewish Life in China) 132 
Kennedy, John F. 124 
Krinsky, Dana 131 

Lamarr, Hedy 104-105 

Lazarus, Emma 34-35,135 

Lehman, Herbert H. 16-17, !38-i39 

Lenya, Lotte 119 

Levi Strauss & Co. 27 

Levin, Julian 4 

Licaretz, Jim 113 

Lincoln, Abraham 74, 96-97 

MacNeil, Hermon 94 
Magnes, Judah L. 6-7,120 

146 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals 

Magnes Collection (UC Berkeley) 

Magnes Museum 4,108,115,120 
Mariaschin, Daniel 4 
Medalcraft Mint 56, 58, 6o, 62, 
64, 66, 68, 70, 72, 74, 76, 

Medallic Art Co. 6,8,10,12,14, 
16,18, 20, 40, 42, 44, 48, 
50, 52, 92,100,102,141 
Meir, Golda 24-25 
Messmer, Andrew 107 
Metal Arts 26, 28, 30, 32 
Meyers, Meyer 23 
Monticello 44-45 
Moses 94 

NASA 100 

National Foundation for Jewish 
Culture 125 

Noah, Mordecai Manuel 68-69, 

Nobel Prize 36, 60, 91 
Peace 124 

Pulitzer, Joseph 102-103 
Pulitzer Prize 102 

Reed, Hal 26, 28-29, 44-45, 52, 
55, 62-63,111,118,119, 

Reimer, Gail Twersky 4 
Remember the Eleven (Munich 
1972) 121 
Resnik, Judith 100 
Ries, Victor 6-7,11, 22-23 , 1:L 3 
Roger Williams Mint 22,24,32 

Rosenthal, Robert "Rosie" 78-79 
Ross, Barney 88-89 
Russin, Robert 8-9,12-13, 36-37, 

S. Johnson 123 
Salk, Jonas 28-29 
Salk Institute 28-29 
Salomon, Haym 14-15,131-133 
Santangel, Luis de 40 
Schatz, Boris 107 
Schindler, Oskar 127 
Schnier, Jacques 16-17,114 
Schwartz, Abby 4,143 
Seixas, Gershom Mendes 18-19 
Shagin, Alex 37, 60, 64, 66, 68- 
69, 72 - 73 , 74 - 75 , in, 117, 
Shcharansky, Natan (Natan 
Sharansky) 121 
Shoah 129 
Siegel, Richard 4 
Singer, Isaac Bashevis 36-37 
Smithsonian Institution's Archives 
of American Art 11 
Sobel, Nat 124 

Somogyi, Marika 46-47, 48-49, 
56 - 57 , 70-71,112,119,120, 

Statue of Liberty 34-35,123,135 
Stern, Isaac 32-33 
Strauss, Levi 26-27 
Szold, Henrietta 20-21 

Talmud (Quote) 50 

Torres, Dara 144-145 
Torres, Luis de 54-55 
Touro, Judah 22-23 
Touro Synagogue 22-23 
Truman, Harry 22 

U.S. Supreme Court 10,42,94 

Vincze, Paul 14, 40-41, 54-55, 
Virginia Holocaust Museum 4, 


Wacks, Esther 1 

Wacks, Mel 1, 4, 23, 37, 60-61, 

62, 66-67, 68, 86-87, 89, 

Wald, Lillian 82-83 
Wallenberg, Raoul 120 
Washington, George 22 
Weill, Kurt 119 
Welsh, Arthur 133 
Widow's Mite 130 
Wiener, Gerta Ries 10-11,18-19, 
20-21, 24-25, 30-31, 32-33, 

Wise, Isaac Mayer 106-107,136 
Wooden Shekels 115-117 
World War II Victory 127 
Worth, Karen 76-77,113 

Yosemite 125 

Zacuto, Abraham 40-41 
Zweifach, Benjamin 118 

Mel Wacks /147 


All photographs by Mel Wacks, courtesy of the Jewish-American Hall of Fame, except as follows: 

Back Stories & About the Medalists, photos and drawings by the respective medalists. 

Pg. 5 (bottom), courtesy of Coin World. 

Pg. 11 (bottom), drawing by Seymour Fromer. 

Pg. 15 (bottom), courtesy of Jewish War Veterans of the U.S.A. 

Pg. 17 (top), photo by Andrew Partos. 

Pg. 23 (bottom), photo by John T. Hopf. 

Pg. 25 (top), courtesy of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 

Pg. 27 (top), courtesy of Levi Strauss & Co. 

Pg. 28 (bottom), courtesy of The Salk Institute. 

Pg. 31 (bottom right), courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. 

Pg. 33 (top), courtesy of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 

Pg. 35 (top), courtesy of the American Jewish Historical Society. 

Pg. 43 (bottom), courtesy of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 

Pg. 50 (bottom), courtesy of Metropolitan Life Co. 

Pg. 59 (bottom), courtesy of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. 

Pg. 61 (bottom right), by unknown photographer. 

Pg. 67 (top left), by J. Keiler, courtesy of the Hebrew Publishing Co. 

Pg. 73 (top), courtesy of Life Magazine. 

Pg. 76, photos courtesy 

Pg. 79 (bottom), courtesy of Gil Cohen. 

Pg. 81 (top), courtesy of Goudey Big League Chewing Gum. 

Pg. 93 (top), courtesy of the Buffalo Historical Society. 

Pg. 97 (bottom left), courtesy of the Pentagon. 

Pg. 104, photos by Eugene Daub. 

Pg. 105 (top), courtesy of the U.S. Patent Office. 

Pg. 106, photos by Eugene Daub. 

Pg. 107 (bottom), courtesy of Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati. 

Pg. 108 (top), photo by Esther Wacks. 

Pg. 108 (bottom), photo by Harriet Epstein. 

Pg. 109, courtesy of the Board of Supervisors, County of Alameda, State of California. 

Pg. 110 (top left), courtesy of Busso Peus Nacht. 

Pg. 111 (bottom), photo by Garrett Burke. 

Pg. 114 (bottom left), photo by Andrew Partos. 

Pg. 114 (bottom right), photo by Esther Wacks. 

Pg. 115 (top right), courtesy of the Judah L. Magnes Museum. 

Pg. 116 (near bottom left & right), courtesy of the Judah L. Magnes Museum. 

Pg. 130 (bottom), photo by Martin Weiss. 

Pg. 141 (top), courtesy of the Cincinnati Skirball Museum. 

Pg. 141 (bottom), photo by Shari Wacks. 

148 / Jewish-American Hall of Fame Medals